Aspire's Southern Tier iXpress artistjust completed an exciting project, called "The Community Tapestry Workshop- Weaving the Community Together."

An interactive weaving studio was establishedfor one week at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood, for the creation of a tapestry. The project allowed our terrific program participants to further develop and share their amazing, ever-emerging abilities. Members of the community experienced the beauty, richness, and uniqueness of this artform, while interacting with the artists and participating in the tapestry's creation, as well.

"Hey Come and See us!

Here is how the project developed: First, we learned the basic of weaving as art form on individual frame looms at Mall Boulevard's iXpress program. Then, together, we developed the ideafor a larger scale, group tapestry project: How about "painting" a landscape, with yarn? How about the landscape we see and live in everyday: Chautauqua County's beautiful surroundings of water and hills and sky? From a small painting sample, a full-size version- called the "cartoon" by tapestry artists- was created for the weavers to follow.

"Katie contributes to "Chautauqua:Lake, Hills and Sky" cartoon.

Next. Th loom is strung~ called the "warp" - and weaving yarns selected- called the "weft". bright and early on Monday morning in the Mall's Food Court, the weaving process begins! There is something for everone to do: winding shuttles, preparing yarn, and weaving in the textures, shapes and colors in ways that best depict the design.

"Everyone Contributes"

Individuals rotate from working on the group tapestry, to continuing with their individual projects. Passerby admire our diverse artistic expression in yarn.

We work hard... sometimes two of us together.....

We have fun too....

"Devin and Derek, team weavers!"

"Dan loving it!"

The public oogles, ask questions and participates...

the image slowly emerges in glorious color and texture...

The weaving team, with Chautauqua: Lake, Hills and Sky" nearly completed!

Thanks from all of us for Aspire support! And thanks to the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County and the Chautauqua Mall.

Sara Baker Michalak

Art Facilitator

Mall Boulavard Day Hab

140 Mall Boulevard



Universal Mind 10/15/09

the band playing at their most recent Wegman's gig

See UNIVERSAL MIND in action! Aspire's iXpress band, will be playing this Thursday, October 15th from 6pm-8pm at the Wegman's on Amherst St. in Buffalo! Come down to the Market Cafe area and rock out to some sweet tunes!


Sum of All Parts workshop at the BPAC 10/3/09

Aspire's iXpress art program recently held a free workshop at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. We spent the day using deconstructed recycled materials, scissors and lots of glue to help us finish 'The Sum of All Parts' a collaborative eco-conscious art project.

'The Sum of All Parts' is funded in part by a Buffalo and Erie County Decentralization grant. iXpress was awarded a grant of $700 to help this project come to fruition. Working with the Burchfield Penney Art Center and local artists Ginny Lohr and Jozef Bajus on our concept and execution everything culminated into the workshop held on October 3rd.

Part of the goals of 'The Sum of All Parts' is to promote collaboration between artists, iXpress artists and the community. Hopefully, strengthening ties with the community and creating more awareness about the abilities of the developmentally disabled. We had a lot of interest from museum goers. Tons of people stopped by to help us out and ask questions about the project and Aspire.

If you're bummed you missed out on this amazing experience don't fret! We are having another workshop this HALLOWEEN! Saturday, October 31st 11am-3pm it's FREE and open to everyone. Encourage your individuals, friends, neighbors and family to come!

museum goers stop by to help out, Jody shows off her creation!
A close up of our boards

Adding to our already overloaded boards

Families worked together on their recycled arts

Some projects drying before their added to our boards

All done!
Remember! October 31st 11am-3pm open to all and FREE!


Southern Tier's Community Labyrinth Project


Labyrinths represent "wholeness," and can be different shapes and sizes. Comprised of a designed space and a path, a labyrinth invites us to enter, progress to the center, and then back out again - with opportunities to enjoy all that there is to experience along the way. With origins in ancient Greek culture, labyrinths have been created by many different cultures for many centuries. Today, labyrinths are found in parks, gardens churches and other places where experiences of peace and enjoyment are desired. In addition, the natural elements and features of the Chadakoin River area, where The Riverwalk Community Labyrinth is located, offer visitors the sights, sounds and solitude of nature.

Aspire's iXpress artists in the Southern Tier continue their summer long "labyrinth experience"

Activities have included: (1) making individual finger labyrinths, (2) creating and using a temporary 40-foot-diameter labyrinth in Mall Boulevard's Day Hab parking lot; and (3) observing and identifying the wildflowers and grasses ocurring in this natural area, and doing drawings and nature journaling from all that we're finding.
The development of the 90-foot-diameter Riverwalk Community Labyrinth continues, located along the Chadakion River on Jones and Gifford Avenue, Jamestown. The labyrinth paths are being mowed regularly and the plants tended by individuals of The Resource Center.
Meanwhile, the artists at Aspire's Lakewood Day Hab and The Resource Center are creating the components for "Serpentine Field," the labyrinth's proposed centerpiece sculpture. Funds for the sculpture were awarded by NYS Council on the Arts and administered by Cattaraugus County Arts Council, based upon a grant application developed by Aspire's iXpress staff. Funding for the sculpture was the impetus for the Riverwalk Community Labyrinth becoming a reality.

"Serpentine Field" will be a mixed media sculpture, a mosaic of hundreds of individually-created ceramic tiles and other media. The sculpture will occupy a space approximately 8 feet square and 2 feet high, in the labyrinth's 25-foot-diameter center. Inspiration for the sculpture arises from the natural features of the Chadakoin River area where the sculpture and labyrinth are to be located: grasses, flowers, and leaves: footprints of animals; insects; fossils; and the many textures of stones, bard and other elements present at the site. Aspire's iXpress artists are enjoying the many clay art processes being employed in creating the varied tile imagery: stamping, carving, and creating textures with various techniques and tools.

The clays being utilized were selected based on their visual, textural and weather-proof qualities. Tiles will be fired once and remain unglazed, resulting in a natural appearance.

When completed this fall, The Riverwalk Community Labyrinth's "Serpentine Field" will offer and experience reminiscent of the sights, sounds, textures, and aromas of the area's water, field, trees and weather, and all that is to be discovered there. The sculpture offers opportunities, too, to contemplate the relationships among places, people, our constructed envirnoments and the natural world.
Watch for more updates on The Riverwalk Community Labyrinth!


Southern Tier's Community Labyrinth Project

1. General Introductory Info

As a part of the Southern Tier iXpress program's "Community Labyrinth Project" and an extension of our explorations of labyrinths, Aspire's Mall Boulevard artists helped create a temporary labyrinth, 40" in diameter, in the Lakewood parking lot. And then, for the rest of the day, we all walked (and otherwise moved through...) the labyrinth, joined by staff, visitors-and even an intrigued passerby!

Mall Boulevard's parking lot labyrinth was created for the purpose of offering an on-site opportunity in creating and enjoying a labyrinth, and served to augment our individuals' involvement with "The Community Labyrinth Project", currently under development on Jones and Gifford Avenue in Jamestown. In addition to developing the 90' Community Labyrinth, individuals at Aspire and The Resource Center are busy creating clay tiles that will be assembled this fall into The Community Labyrinth's "Centerpiece Sculpture."

The parking lot labyrinth experience at Mall Boulevard helped us come up with an answer to the question, "what is a labyrinth?"

A labyrinth is, simply, a path that invites us into a created space, leads us to the center, and then back out again. Labyrinths of all shapes and sizes have been created by many different cultures for many centuries, for the purposes of meditation, exercise and enjoyment.

Following a labyrinth path is quieting and calming - and fun, too!

2. Here are the steps that we followed to create the Mall Boulevard parking lot labyrinth:

To begin creating the parking lot labyrint, we marked a center point. Then one individual stood on the center point, holding the end of a rope marked with knots at the 5' points.

Another individual ("the measurer") picked up the rope at the first 5' knot, held the rope taut, and moved slowly around the center point. A third individual ("the marker") followed closely behind the measurer, chalking the line until the starting point was reached, completing the innermost circle.

Then the measurer moved further away from the center, taking hold of the rope at the 10' knot. A larger circle was measured and marked this time, outside the first circle. As that circle was completed the process continued, moving further out from the center at 5' increments, measuring and marking a series of concentric 5' circles until the desired diameter for the labyrinth was reached. Then the openings were marked to allow for a continuous path from the outside of the labyrinth to the center and back out again. Finally, the "trial runners" took on the challenge...will our planning and measuring and marking lead us to the center?

It works for "all walks" and everyone!


Ani Hoover inspires the Center for Learning

Students at the CFL traveled to UB North in May to see the Ani Hoover exhibit. The six panels were 30 feet tall and everyone was amazed at how they seemed to go on forever. The paintings were bright and very colorful. Many students picked out a favorite piece based on color. We learned that Hoover uses stencils with spray paint and ink. Also, we learned that her color choices are based on simple life events.

When we returned to the school we started our own circle painting. Each class chose a season to base the colors in their painting. The students then filled the 9 foot long paper witih bright circular stamps of color. They also used stencils and liquid tempera paint in spray bottles to make more circles. The paint dripped down the paper just like in Ani Hoover's work.
-Laura Minor, iXpress Art Facilitator for Aspire's Center for Learning


Sum of All Parts: Part II

Some more pictures from our Sum of All Parts workshop, enjoy!

Experimenting with our base structures and materials

Cardboard shapes for stacking, hanging and who knows!

a finished cardboard painting, it will eventually be cut up into abstract forms.

Bill works on painting the cardboard

(from left to right) Bill, Jacqui, Paige, and Sarah work together