the wheel of kindness…

May 5, 2013

wheel of kindness

photo by Marc Cheatham

When Betsy from ART180 asked my good friend Marc Cheatham (of the famous RVA blog The Cheats Movement) and I to facilitate a program at Atlas, their new art center for teens, I was super stoked. Oh, how I love ART180, so much. I love their intention and process, their values, how they do things and hold a certain kind of space in the world.

To be honest, I was also a little worried about the whole thing. I had no idea if we had enough ideas/material to teach a 6 week class on Guerrilla Kindness…or rather what the approach should be so that it would be meaningful to teens. I knew teens hold all the power and goodness to access their call to kindness but I didn’t really know what the path would look like or how I could help exactly.

wheel of kindness-4

…but the best part of art, kindness and facilitation  (not so much teaching really) is the teens really led the way. After a few weeks of connecting, talking, a few missions (remind me to tell you how they kindness bombed a city block) and a brainstorming session, the teens came up with THE MOST BRILLIANT KINDNESS PROJECT. 

I was out of my mind listening to them and watching the project evolve. I loved how bold and creative they were, how they each stepped into kindness in their own way.

I give you The Wheel of Kindness my friends:

wheel of kindness

Nic Cossitt, a good friend to ART 180 built the giant wheel of kindness with the help of the kids’ design and idea, then we all got to paint it together.

So here’s how it works:

1. A player spins the wheel and lands on a particular color.

2. They are given the same corresponding color balloon.

3. The person then pops the balloon (this part was SO much more exciting than I thought it was going to be).

4. Inside the balloon was their very own kindness mission rolled up on a scroll to be completed that day.

5. We included the hash tag #art180kindness on the little mission scroll so they could share their pictures of the kindness on twitter and instagram.

wheel of kindness-3wheel of kindness-2

It was so, so thrilling!!! We set up the wheel in front of ART180 on RVA’s First Fridays Art Walk and in conjunction with the

Love: Through the Eyes of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Exhibition 

at Atlas.

wheel of kindness3

photo by Marc Cheatham

The kids invited folks walking by to play, I was amazed how many different kinds of people joined us…and I wish we had more pictures of their faces. It may be almost impossible to walk by a giant rainbow wheel and not want to spin it. You find yourself yelling things like “Come on!!! Big kindness, big kindness, no whammies!” and cheering for someone, anyone to land on the double dog dare GOLD triangle of kindness.

It’s kind of wonderful when we let kindness lead even if we have no idea where it will go or how we will get there…when we invite joy, wonder and simply listen to each other…and when it all starts in friendship and connection. I think this is the magic of ART180- making space for all of that.

Early in the class, Marc asked the teens if there had ever been a time someone was kind to them, their faces went blank. I then asked them if anyone at ART180 had been kind to them, they all spoke at at once and on top of each other. My favorite answer was from a young man that really had not said one word all day… “They respect me here.”

wheel of kindness2

photo by Marc Cheatham

If you are in RVA, you can still see the Wheel of Kindness at The Big Show on May 15th at 6pm at Planet Zero (0 E. 4th Street) along with art from kids across the city.

Hope to see you there or hopefully on some street corner in the future spinnin’ the wheel!


12 Responses to “the wheel of kindness…”

  1. Lisa Says:

    I want to jump on a plane to Wheel of Kindness, RVA right now! This is one of the most brilliant kindness projects yet! I love it! And I love the whole story and how it touched so many people on so many levels.

  2. Jen Says:

    This is so amazing! Co-sign what Lisa just said. I’m coming to RVA! Just so full of open heartedness…

  3. Donna Says:

    Wow, Patience, this is beautiful on so many levels. Getting those teens involved in such positive-ness and then the adults seeing and interacting with these awesome kids. Plus allowing people to witness how we can make a beautiful loving difference in the world. We do have the power to create good each day.

  4. Marnie G Says:

    Beautiful–all of it. Well done and know you made a difference .

  5. Melanie Says:

    Forget fixing my fence…I am going to build a kindness wheel instead! Absolutely love this! It is truly amazing what kids will create when given the ‘space’ to do it.

  6. […] The Wheel of Kindness on Kindness Girl. Such a great […]

  7. This is AWESOME! I would love to do this this summer with my kids and friends in down town Albuquerque! You are one awesome lady and I love all the connections you have in your community 🙂 Also I put your button on my blog finally! It’s on the blogs I follow page. Some day we need to do a guest post swap or work together in some way!

  8. […] You can read the story about the wheel here. […]

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