August 10, 2012 – Sunland, CA: International Art Day 2012, the second Friday in August, was the kick-off for the Art Day Games. Art Day was started in 1998 by writer/painter Becky Mate, member of Artists for a Better World, and was proclaimed by Mayors of Glendale, CA for the past six years. Award-winning designer Eugenia May-Montt, originally from Central America, suggested that there be an Olympics-like event to help celebrate the day dedicated to the arts and artists of all disciplines. The day started with Mate’s traditional Art and Chocolate party featuring potluck items, works of art, a table with art supplies for children and readings of short stories and poems. Jaime Rodriguez, Assistant to LA City Councilman Alarcon, made a guest appearance. Rodriguez recited an in-depth, powerful, moving poem about his Dad.
Neenu Vij, an artist residing in arts-friendly Chandigarh, India, organized the beginnings of the Painting event, “Celebrating Creativity,” and said, “People were invited to experience the creative process of fifteen artists from various parts of the country and witness the magic of a blank canvas turning into a beautiful piece of art.” On display on Art Day at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Chandigarh, August 10, 2012 were the finished paintings and items from the history of Art Day, such as Happy Art Day greeting cards, news articles and Art Day coloring books. She also invited underprivileged children to do art in her garden. She heard about Art Day from the AFABW website (artistsforabetterworld.org), and said, “I find it pretty interesting that far off in a place, someone shares my passion.”
The Poetry event of the Art Day Games was organized by Dorothy Skiles, the 2012 Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga. On August 10th, international Art Day, Skiles enlisted the participation of 7 brave poets at an Art & Chocolate Party in Sunland, including the party’s hostess, Becky Mate. After reading two of her own poems, one about art and one about August, Skiles gave the poets three words they needed to incorporate in a poem that they composed on the spot, to prevent them from merely writing a poem they had composed earlier. In the 15-minute deadline, each poet had to use the noun, verb and adjective: “breeze,” “run” and “hungry”. While families made art at the Children’s Art Table, sponsored by Daniel Fraisse Insurance Services, Inc. of La Crescenta, the poets went to work in their notebooks.
The participants were, Kristina Arius (originally from Sweden), Erica Arius-Quazi (of Sunland, originally from Sweden), Claudia Chicas (of Sunland, originally from Central America), John Christopher (of Los Angeles), Alex Tamraz (of Glendale, originally from Armenia), Becky Mate (of Sunland) and Richard Gundy (of Los Feliz). Each poet read their poem aloud, since presentation & audience response was part of the judging criteria, along with quality of writing and theme or idea.
The bronze award, consisting of a medal on a cloth necklace of red, white and blue, favored Sweden and was presented by the Sunland-Tujunga Poet Laureate to Erica Arius-Quazi for her poem entitled “Frustrations.” The bronze winner said that she would like to see more people at the Poetry event in the future because, “it developed a sense of community, with different people coming together for peace and joy.” Her poetry often stresses the theme, “Life throws new things in our path and how we deal with them, positive or negative, will affect our entire life.” Her love of poetry came about because, as she said, “in my early 20’s I wanted to become a medieval professor.”
Richard Gundy from the United States won the silver medal, which was ingraved, “Int’l Art Day, August 10, 2012, Poetry, 2nd Place,” for his poem entitled “No Resolve.” His poetry roots came from the 70’s when he also did songwriting. He liked the challenge of writing a “last minute poem based on the three words given.” He is a professional writer (rlgwritingservices.com.)
Becky Mate of the United States took the gold medal for her poem that summarized the ambiance of the Art Day party, “Right Neighborly of You.” Mate said, “Poetry gives us a unique look at the world—a viewpoint with some punch. As this Poetry event of the Art Day Games goes more global, I believe it will elevate the stature of the poet in society’s eyes and increase the audience for poetry.” Mate, whose writing encompasses such themes as “peace, virtue and triumph of the human spirit,” can be reached at email@example.com.
Small monetary awards were given the three medalists by New Castle Remodeling, Inc., a company recently relocated to Sunland. All the poets who participated in this historic event were given a paper with the Art Day Games logo, designed by Paul Huth of San Diego, which said, “You have participated in the first year of the Art Day Games. Thank you for being a cultural leader in our civilization. Your art makes a difference.”
Additional events in the Art Day Games of the future will be Storytelling, Fimmaking, Acting, Photography, Music, Dancing, and other live events. The award for the Fashion event will be named in honor of Barbara Glazier, who passed away in June 2012, and who is the mother of Art Day’s Founder.
Skiles said, “It was a lovely event! I really enjoyed meeting folks from the neighborhood and was amazed at how much fun the kids had at the art table! Those who participated in the poetry contest seemed to really have a good time. And, given the limited time to write, they did very well. And I loved the smiles on all the winners faces!” She invited all the poets to the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga monthly reading series at the Bolton Hall Museum on Commerce and Valmont in Tujunga (villagepoets.org.)
For more information about international Art Day, visit artistsforabetterworld.org. To volunteer to organize an Art Day Games event for 2013 email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have an interest in poetry, contact Dorothy Skiles at email@example.com.
POETRY GOLD MEDAL WINNER: RIGHT NEIGHBORLY OF YOU
By Becky Mate
What does it take for neighbors to gather?
The whisper of an art party on the breeze?
Our yards and fences and walls
Try to keep us apart,
But we are hungry for each other’s
Company, conversation and smiles.
Put out a table of food and drink.
And provide one thing all cultures
Have in common—the arts.
The neighbors will come running.
In the tough world of today,
It is nice to find friends who want to
Come out and play.
POETRY SILVER MEDAL WINNER: NO RESOLVE
By Richard Gundy
I run down
But never finding
The real truth
Feeling a light breeze
As I stop
The clouds spell
Out what I do
Yet no resolve
I start to run
Committed in more
Ways than one
To find the truth.
POETRY BRONZE MEDAL WINNER: FRUSTRATIONS
By Erica Arius-Quazi
Where is the breeze of life?
When one runs around all day
To fulfill life’s demands?
There seems to be no endlessness
To hunger for more richness
Demands of life keep taking!
What makes life a breeze?
Perhaps it is love?
Love’s happiness is endless!
Love brings the breeze to life.
The richness of life with love there
Makes life’s demands a kiss of hunger satisfied.
2012 Art Day Photos from India
2012 Art Day Photos from USA
USA photos featuring Poet Laureate were taken by Randy Mate. Other US photos taken by Dorothy Skiles.