Sponsor Spotlight: Kuumba Community Art

Deidre Clark, founder of Kuumba Community Art

One of the things I love most about organizing See Jane Write programs and events is working with such wonderful women. Many, if not most, of the women who participate in See Jane Write activities are also busy working on doing something to improve Birmingham. Case in point — Deidre Clark is not only a writer but also a photographer and visual artist who is using her artistic talents to better Birmingham’s Ensley neighborhood. 

Deidre is the founder of Kuumba Community Arta program based in the Ensley neighborhood that seeks to increase art awareness and appreciation by teaching children how to express themselves through photography and art.

Below Deidre offers advice for those of you considering starting a community program of your own. 

1. Count the cost. “Be sure you’ve considered the assets and liabilities before beginning,” Deidre says. “Try to get as much of your idea out of your head and on paper so you can see exactly what you’re in for.”

2. Get help. “Consider partnering with a community recreation center, a local nursing home/assisted living facility or school,” Deidre recommends. “You may also consider researching if there is already a group of people with your talent that have the same heart. If so, link up with them. If not, blaze the trail!” Deidre also recommends recruiting a team to help you with your project. “It’ll make things easier for you and your chances for burnout will decrease.”
3. Get the word out. “Connect with your neighborhood association and tell as many people as will listen about what you want to do. Intrinsic to this is knowing what you want to do, what problem or issue you wish to address and what you hope to accomplish. Create a mission and vision statement. It will guide your efforts and keep you from getting off track.”

4. Be willing to take risks. “You may have to make some cold calls, request meetings with people you’ve never met, but if you are blazing a trail this is important,” Deidre says. 

5. Be committed.  “If you’re not sure you can be consistent don’t do it,” Deidre says, frankly. “Consider supporting an organization that may be doing what you want to do or something close to it. You’ll begin some great relationships as you seek to begin your work and a lack of commitment can undermine those relationships.”