November 12, 2010 § 1 Comment
There are some exciting and slick development maybes and even a few definitelys happening right now at ECDI, some of which I can talk about and some of which, I can’t. When I try to get purchase on all of it, I keep coming back to this moment at our neighborhood open house.
I volunteered my marginal artistic talents and not-so-steady hand and added “facepainting” to my job description for the party. Patty and I were concerned with engaging the neighborhood kids. Sure, our building is beautiful but do the kids care? Patty enlisted her son to do some balloon twisting and I agreed to create some half-dollar sized pumpkins and basketballs with a brush. A few fifth and sixth grade boys made their way over to where I tentatively sat with my paints, and soon deduced that my limited menu wasn’t quite in keeping with their facepainting dreams. They politely asked for the brushes and sponges and began to create beautiful, dramatic masks and designs on each other’s faces.
Patiently, a third boy held the mirror while they encouraged and advised each other on matters of shading, color choice, and scale. They imagined grander and more dramatic than I ever did. While I saw lumpy paint, gray water, and a plastic-bristle brush, they saw theatrical possibilities in the faces of their friends.
In economic development, people often need training as well as tools. Sometimes, though, unprompted, people will take modest tools and resources and exceed your expectations tenfold.