art 180 broad appetit

Art 180 ‘s The Wheel of Kindness will be at Broad Appetit today starting at 11am…I will be there with the teens for a bit! Come spin the wheel and eat some yummy food with us!

You can read the story about the wheel was created here.

*also, for all those looking to make your own kind wheel, ART 180 is working on a short how-to page, soon to come.

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!

from our friends at James River High School, Richmond, Va.

I’ve been meeting with some kids from the Leadership Center at James River High. I was introduced to them by their Ethics teacher Mr. Couillard, affectionately called Mr. C.

I thought I was going to share my story, inspire a bit, blah, blah, blah….but the universe pulled this HUGE switcheroo on me.

I was stunned by these kids, their heart, their intentions, their focus on kindness and change…So when I got their list of plans for a You Are Loveable campaign at their school, I think my heart just melted. The Junior class took this original idea and ran so far with it with so much soul and creativity, I was blown away.

A bunch of guys giving girls lame pick up lines to make them smile

Somebody to LOVE by Queen playing on the intercom

A post-it kindness blast in the school parking lot

Sidewalks chalked with messages of love

I have looked at the list all week, with this silly grin on my face, imagining the kindness descending on that school in a big, big way.

But then today… Mr C. sent me the picture above of the bulletin boards filled with messages- Give What You Can, Take What You Need…and I started to cry a little…realizing this is the heart of kindness, I have something to give and I need to take something too.

I thought of all the sweet things planned for today- the You Are Loveable messages all over, the Cotton Candy Kindness later this afternoon…those are my Give What You Can sort of things…and then there are the Take What You Need things swirling…I don’t think I’ve taken it and I need it today.

Today I need:

Peace while I wait to find out if a big opportunity is going to happen to carry this message so much further (it feels sort of bleak at the moment, your good thoughts would be appreciated)

Community to gather and stand in some more complicated kindness- like the kind where you have to navigate different needs and still stand in what you believe in- in this case, it’s a skate park and finding the sweet middle place of compromise where everyone is valued and heard

Protection for a tender heart and clarity to see this work and this life for all its beauty- the comparison gremlin is knocking at the door of my soul hard right now.

SO on this day of love, please Give What You Can and Take What You Need in the comments…it can be our virtual bulletin board today inspired by Mr. C and the kids.

And just imagine all those high school kids kindness bombing their school, and people finding a message reminding them we are all loveable, and some grown kid eating pink fluffy candy goodness in the park…and know that kindness changes everything.