Missy Kinder, Wellspring’s Art Program Coordinator first started working at Wellspring four and a half years ago.
She has a degree in Art and has worked in state and community art programs for her entire career.
“Every job that I’ve had has been about enabling people to create or show their work,” Missy said. “My own work has taken a backseat.”
Missy’s artwork utilizes found or re-purposed objects. She makes bird’s nests out of rusty metal, draws and likes to paint in watercolor.
“I really appreciate the worn quality that shows up on found objects from just being in the world – that stuff is incredibly moving to me because it has these beautiful textures and patinas that have been created through use, abuse and the weathering of time,” she said.
“I’ve worked in many different art media and the things I make tend to be mixed media,” she said. “As an artist, I’m restless – I always want to learn something and then I am off to the next thing.”
How did she get her position at Wellspring?
Through a chance encounter with an acquaintance she hadn’t seen in years, at Trader Joe’s, she heard that Genelle at Wellspring was considering hiring an art coordinator for a program she hoped to start at Wellspring.
Genelle had casually mentioned this idea to someone she works with at the center who told Missy’s friend, thinking the friend might be interested. When Missy and she bumped into each other at the market, the friend told her about this and encouraged her to pursue it.
“I emailed Genelle and she told me later that she was very surprised when she got the email because they hadn’t advertised the position and didn’t have the program yet,” Missy said. “So it was a wayward connection but it worked!”
What was it like for you to visit Wellspring for the first time?
“The first thing that I said when I walked into Wellspring was, ‘Oh it’s pink. It’s pink. It is really pink,’” Missy said. “Sister Judy and Genelle just started laughing. It just struck me how good it felt to be in the empty building. It is a beautiful building with history. Then I interviewed with Genelle and Sister Judy and I immediately felt very connected to them and what they were doing here.”
What has it been like to work with the Art of Being Program?
“It has probably been one of the most transformative experiences of my life and amazing,” she said. “I feel like everything that I’ve done up until now has come together in this one place.”
“I really wanted to bring meaningful creative experiences to the women who come to Wellspring,” Missy said. “They are just creative beyond belief. Many of the women who come here haven’t had the opportunity to express themselves creatively or haven’t had the instruction. Sometimes, they simply can’t afford the materials.”
As Art of Being Coordinator, Missy arranges for volunteers to come to the Center to facilitate art and craft workshops in addition to facilitating them herself. Currently, Wellspring offers sewing classes in partnership with the American Sewing Guild and Wire Working classes. As well, Missy coordinates Wellspring’s weekly Craft Club which occurs during the breakfast rush on a table set up in a corner on the main floor. Craft Club offers make it and take it crafts, as well as knitting and crochet instruction to the guests.
Missy receives treasure troves of donated art supplies – with hidden gems like vintage sewing kits.
“We have an incredibly generous community that donates a lot of the materials that we use,” Missy said.
Many guests rely on Wellspring to get a weekly supply of yarn and have been crocheting and knitting since they were young.
“The really moving thing about the knitting and the crocheting is that every so often somebody will tell me, ‘I struggle with depression. I struggle with terrible anxiety. I can’t sleep at night. I am always just going from appointment to appointment. Things are so hard right now – my kids are driving me crazy/ The time that I take to knit or crochet calms me down. It helps me relax and get to more grounded place,’”
“It is an important part of every women’s life to create.” Missy said. “If I do nothing else but put some yarn or art materials into someone’s hands so that when they are feeling bad they can sit and knit, crochet or create – that will be enough. Fortunately, we get to do a lot more than that.”
“This morning, we had knitting and everyone was sitting together and giving each other ideas,” Missy said. “It was incredibly connecting. We were all leaning over each other’s shoulders. Did you do this part? What did she show you? What are you going to do next?”
When Missy started at Wellspring, she co-created the Art of Being Expressive, Therapy Program with Genelle – adding in the art elements and instruction to Genelle’s conception of the program.
The Expressive Therapy Group is 10 weeks long and meets for two 3 hour sessions in the afternoon in a curtained alcove of the dining room.
“It is just wonderful witnessing the skill that Genelle has as a therapist, adding in some art instruction and then watching how that moves people who didn’t think they’d be able to create what they created – how they moved from uncertainty in their heart – feeling unworthy and ashamed, and then moving to a place of confidence,” Missy said. “That self-doubt goes away and they start to see their own beauty, their own talents and their own worth.”
What has Wellspring taught you?
“That I don’t have to have everything perfectly planned and that sometimes I can just go with the flow and see what happens, and that is sometimes when the best creations of all happen – right in that present moment,” she said. “Also, to slow down and appreciate the beauty of community and connection. To give every person I encounter my full attention, no matter how busy I am.”
What do you cherish about Wellspring?
“I cherish the staff, the volunteers and the women,” Missy said. “I cherish the energy that comes alive here and just how wonderful and generous everyone is. I have volunteers who make this program work and they are incredibly dedicated. The coolest thing to watch is when they form bonds with the women who they are working with. I just like the flow and the interchange here. It is really something that I cherish. I can’t say enough about the staff. We are all so close. We work really well together. We try to be respectful of each other. We step on toes every so often, but you know, we always figure out a way to work out any differences. Everyone is just really cool here. I cherish knowing that there is a place like Wellspring.”
How has Wellspring impacted your self-concept?
“I have people coming up and telling me that they love me each day, all day long and giving me things and being generous with me in ways that I never could have imagined,” Missy said. “So any imperfection that I may feel evaporates when somebody is coming up and telling you how much they value the work that you are doing for them and with them and what you have brought into their lives. It is really hard to keep telling yourself that story of – well I’m just not doing enough or I didn’t get the yarn sorted or I didn’t get everything organized. Suddenly none of that matters – staying in the present moment is what keeps my mind happy and creative.”
How has Wellspring impacted the community?
“Every women who comes in here can know that she is valued and that she is loved,” Missy said. “She can take that out to her family and her community and I think when you are in that atmosphere of love and generosity, it just awakens those qualities in you and you want to go out and take those qualities into the world. I am sure that the love in this building is just flowing out through the people who come here.”
Do you love arts and crafts as much as Missy? Is there an art room or sewing room in your or a loved one’s house that needs a good purge? We we gladly accept your treasures! You can drop of donations to Wellspring at 3414 4th Ave, Sacramento, CA, M-F, 8:30am-11:30am or by appointment (please call 916.454.9688 x210 and let Missy know when you’d like to stop by). You can also have some fun looking through the wish lists created for the Art Program by visiting:
- Blik Art Supplies Wish List – http://bit.ly/2uZ6ELf
- Amazon Art Supplies Wish List – http://a.co/eRQJoaO