Radical Imagination Workshop: Artmaking at The Commons


On Friday, March 8, 2019, SWF Human-In-Residence, Tanya Scruggs Ford, led the second workshop in Sweet Water Foundation’s Radical Imagination Workshop Series in the Lightbox Theater + Gallery. The recently launched Radical Imagination Workshop Series promotes artists of color and provides a space for an intergenerational audience to imagine new possibilities and express creativity through art. The first Radical Imagination Workshop, which took place in February, was a Community Sing @ The Commons with the Urban Bush Women that welcomed more than 80 people of all ages to share their story through song + dance. The second workshop of the Radical Imagination series introduced the SWF Core Team to a new artistic medium using materials commonly found at The Commons.

Tanya Scruggs Ford is an artist, jewelry maker, teacher, and learner who has spent the past 8 months volunteering with SWF. Tanya uses wood scraps from SWF for her jewelry and art making. On March 8, two long tables were set up in Lightbox Theater + Gallery and Tanya got to work teaching the team about her passion and how to express their imaginations through this unique form of art. Tanya explained the artmaking process in which she pours paint and epoxy mixtures on top of small pieces of wood in various patterns. The mixture is then spread around the wood to create works of art. After Tanya’s brief tutorial, the team began creating their own epoxy mixtures. Each person selected different colors, resulting in unique works of art and expressions of their imagination.

Art is often utilized as a tool to encourage children to express their personalities, feelings, and creativity, but is not always used to support the radical imagination of adults. SWF curates inclusive spaces and events across The Commons that bring together artists and local residents of all ages to engage with their community in the co-creation of culturally relevant, local, and transformative art. SWF extends its gratitude to Tanya for introducing a new art medium to the SWF team and looks forward to the next Radical Imagination Workshop.

Courtney Hug