My lifetime as a human is impossible to untangle from my lifetime as an artist and a teacher. Mentoring artists and cultural workers to navigate civic life is a pleasure. Encouraging children and adults to use their own creative and critical abilities is a form of activism that allows me to see meaningful change in the world.
My life work investigates natural and human worlds and the learning that can happen between them. Social and environmental issues are all present when I journey. Cultivating pathways has inspired important conversations. Documenting overlooked details in everyday life has resulted in shared moments of understanding.
My life work emphasizes care for each other and the world we share. A few projects include:
Anti-Racism Coalition of Cazenovia (ARC-C)
As a member of this group, I hope to learn and amplify issues of systemic racism. The mission “is to create a more inclusive community which actively supports our residents of color, including the many Black students at Cazenovia College, and any visitors who may be visiting our village”.
Information about the actions of ARC-C can be found at https://www.facebook.com/arccazenovia.
Seaside Cooperative Garden
As a volunteer communications coordinator and founding member for a non-profit cooperative organic garden in Swampscott, MA I helped to establish workflow systems and ways to exchange ideas and expertise among over 40 member households. We were able to produce significant yields of food and educational information and share it with community organizations that served seniors, homeless, and hungry people. Photos of our community in action can be found here.
Now & Then
I collaborated with the coastal Town of Swampscott, MA to develop a series of posters as part of a lighting project for a dark pedestrian underpass. As with all of my community work, photographs and participant voices contributed to the strength of the story that we told. Information about each poster is available here and via a QR code on site. An article about the project can be found here.
I am privileged to be able to walk, paddle, pedal, and glide as work, as exercise, as meditation, as art, and as an expression of solidarity with others.
In August, 2019 I joined the Essex County Community Organization in a pilgrimage to protest US policy for migrants. Here is a post from that journey:
“#solidaritywalk After many miles we arrived at the ICE detention center in Dover, NH. Our vigil was held in a place where detainees could see through the windows. They tapped on the windowsills, sang, and waved to let us know they were there. On the final day, we were joined by hundreds of pilgrims from Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington DC, and New York. Migrant families with children courageously accompanied us as leaders.
Rebecca Solnit writes that pilgrims “often try to make their journey harder, recalling the origin of the word travel in travail, which also means work, suffering, and the pangs of childbirth”. Our journey was not suffering. It was a lament — an expression of grief over 76 miles, sleeping in churches, navigating heat and poison ivy, highways, through remote places and rainstorms…but the work was privileged compared to the burdens that we place on children and immigrant families every day with our unjust systems.”
The Haven Project
I was honored in March 2019 by recognition of my work with the Haven Project:
“When asked why she chose to get involved with the Haven Project, Laura explained that as a teacher in public schools, community organizations, and in higher education, she has seen the challenges of homelessness with so many young people and their families. She went on to say, “The Haven Project bridges a difficult period between K-12 school and adulthood for so many. I wanted to use my experience as an educator and as an artist to encourage young people to succeed, and the Haven Project provided a way to do that.”
At the Haven Project, Laura has found a community that respects and cares for a great diversity of issues with young people. Laura explains, “Every single story is different and at the Haven Project we get to learn so much from each other.”
Laura stated, “I believe that poverty of spirit in one person is dangerously expensive to all of society. We cannot afford the associated costs of despair that comes with homelessness. James Baldwin once wrote, ‘Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.’ That statement inspires my mission and resonates with the times in my own life when I was not able to make ends meet or felt that there was no better tomorrow.”
We are grateful that Laura has chosen to bring her passion and expertise to the Haven Project. Her support has been invaluable.”