My first collaboration of 2013 is with Jacinta Bunnell and Ken Greene. Jacinta is an assistant teacher at High Meadow School in Stone Ridge, New York, and is one of the founders of the Hudson Valley Broads’ Regional Arm Wrestling League (BRAWL). She is also the author of three coloring books: Girls will be Boys will be Girls, Sometimes a Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon, and Girls Are Not Chicks. Ken is the co-founder of the Hudson Valley Seed Library, a seed house of open-pollinated, mainly heirloom seeds.
Jacinta’s paintings are colorful and playful, with a touch of childhood fragility. She is one of those people you know instinctively as a gentle, kind person. She and her friends started the Hudson Valley BRAWL, an immensely fun and exciting series of arm wrestling matches, with each contestant accompanied by an elaborate and creative entourage of characters. Each event benefits a local not-for-profits relating to women’s and girls’ causes, raising as much as $3000 per event. It is an empowering and wholesome experience. The 2010 Super BRAWL at the Bearsville Theater ended in a championship match that kept the audience on the edge of the seat for more than 20 minutes.
The tender story of how the Seed Library got started is described in this NY Times article. The Library is dedicated to preserving plants diversity, and distributing open-pollinated, non-hybrid and non-genetically-modified seed varieties. They grow and pack their own seeds, as well as sell heirloom varieties from other trusted sources. They value diversity not only in plants, but also in the social circles. Every year they put out an open call to artists for designing their seed packets. The original artworks are displayed in traveling art shows including their annual stop at Manhattan’s Horticultural Society.
Both Jacinta and Ken understand the power of art as a force to bring people together; this is why I asked them (first Jacinta, then she brought in Ken) to be a part of this on-going series of collaborations. For several hours, we get to hang out and chat; we learn new things by exchanging information and knowledge; and most importantly, have so much fun moving tiny objects. The moment we first play back the clip is always magical. Everyone gets giddy. That’s what this studio is all about.