Art Beat: Creativity Outreach | WMUK

Art Beat: Creativity Outreach

Jan 21, 2021

Fingerpainting hands
Credit Bridget Fox

Bridget Fox broke through months of COVID isolation by painting rocks and putting them along paths others might walk.

She also painted tiny images and sent them to unsuspecting recipients to cheer them up. Fox has worked on creating virtual tours as a docent at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. She writes a monthly column of creative ideas for the newspaper Good News. And she's taught virtual art classes for persons with disabilities at MRC artWorks on the downtown Kalamazoo Mall.

Fox recalls sending out her paintings.

“It was back in May, my birthday month. We were all in this together, but alone. I was quarantining at home and I thought, I want to do something. Social media was blowing up with all sorts of comments from my friends and acquaintances about how tough it was on them. They thought they were alone, isolated from friends and family. So I set out to do some little paintings.”

Bridget Fox
Credit Courtesy of the artist

Some of the paintings were as small as refrigerator magnets, others were the size of postcards. Fox mailed them to people along with tiny easels to set them up for display. It was her way of letting people know they were in her mind and heart.

During the summer of COVID-19, Fox also painted rocks and put them in random places where passersby might find them. She called them “Kindness Rocks.”

“I started them after walking a nature path here in Kalamazoo,” Fox says. “I saw one, and it spoke to my heart. While I didn’t take it, I did photograph it. I thought, that would be a good project to do. I wanted something that would speak to people, writing messages of ‘You are loved,’ ‘You matter,’ ‘Peace,’ and ‘Be kind.’”

At MRC artWorks, Fox instructs people with disabilities how to express themselves in various art forms.

“We provide adults living with disabilities a space and a positive environment in which to create and sell their art,” Fox says. “This promotes their personal growth and self-confidence. We focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities.”

Fox will also become president of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Docent Council, leading them in learning about the art on exhibit and how to lead tours in-person and and virtually.

Her work, including her trademark finger paintings, are available on Fox’s Etsy shop, called Bridget Fox Kalamazoo.

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