Get out your paint, markers, crayons and glitter! It’s time for the 2nd Annual Diabetes Art Day! Hosted on Sept. 1st, Diabetes Art Day is the brainchild of Lee Ann Thill, a diabetes blogger and certified art therapist who shared the impact of art and diabetes here at the ‘Mine last summer.
Lee Ann launched Diabetes Art Day last year as an online initiative for the Diabetes Online Community to “tell a story about life with diabetes though creative visual expression.” Diabetes Art Day is open to anyone of any age, and you don’t have to have diabetes either. Children, spouses, parents, siblings, or anyone who is affected by diabetes are welcome to participate. Even Amy’s daughter got in the D-Art spirit with a submission last year!
We chatted with Lee Ann this week about this initiative, and her thoughts on diabetes and artistic expression:
DM) What was the real goal behind starting Diabetes Art Day?
LAT) One of my fundamental beliefs about human experience is that creative expression is healing and transformative. Diabetes Art Day offers another dimension to our participation in the DOC. It allows us to share a different side of ourselves, and it provides the chance to see others in a new way. With creative visual expression, we experience a greater depth of experience of ourselves and each other, and this strengthens our connections. Art is also a valuable means of communicating the experience of living with diabetes to people outside the diabetes community, so Diabetes Art Day was also started as a way of raising awareness.
How can people get involved?
First, get creative! It can be as simple or elaborate as you like. It can be anything from more traditional art forms like drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, collage, photography, to less traditional motifs. Last year, a decorated cake, embroidery, and stop-motion animation were some of the more unusual contributions. Because diabetes is a family disease, I also encourage people to get their families involved; it’s an opportunity to have fun and facilitate communication, and take part in a positive activity around what’s otherwise burdensome. If you have friends or family who have diabetes, encourage them to take part too. The impact that Diabetes Art Day has within our community and beyond is as great as the amount of participation.
What advice do you have for people who don’t think of themselves as “artists”?
Identifying an intention for participating helps people who aren’t naturally inclined to make art. Your intention might be to express and share a feeling or experience related to diabetes, to raise diabetes awareness, to have a positive diabetes experience with your family, to participate in this community initiative, or just to have fun. It also helps to reconsider what makes a piece of art “good.” Art can be good because it conveys sincerity, truth of experience, a genuine feeling, a sense of movement or a sense of stillness.
I think it also helps to think about the way children approach art. For children, art-making is about playing, using the materials for the sake of using the materials, and telling a story. Diabetes Art Day is a chance to tell your story with art. Most adults shy away from art-making, saying, “I draw like a kid!” but that’s a good thing! Have fun, tell your story, and pretend you’re a kid again!
If you’re looking for some ideas, consider these supplies:
- Use old diabetes supplies (test strips, old pump supplies) along with paint or pastels to create an image.
- Create a collage from diabetes magazines, personal photos, and craft items like beads, tissue paper or fabric.
- Explore the kitchen and make artwork out of cake decorating or cookie shapes.
- Get hi-tech and use digital media, like photography and stop-motion animation.
Here are some examples of the brilliant work submitted last year:
Wow! We sure have some amazing talent in this community.
Inspired? Here’s How to Participate:
Once you have your artwork complete, upload it to the 2011 Gallery on the Diabetes Art Day website. From there, Lee Ann also encourages you to share your submission on your social network profiles, from Facebook to TuDiabetes and Diabetic Connect.
On Twitter, use the hashtag #DArtDay11 and with a tweet or link to your picture.
Lee Ann also suggests using your D-Art as your avatar (profile picture) for the day on Facebook, Twitter and other social network profiles to raise awareness amongst your non-D friends and family.
Personally, I like to use my Nikon D60 to express myself, and there’s certainly no shortage of inspiration in daily life. Can’t wait to see how the community gets creative this Sept. 1st!