MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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MOM Residency Testimonial with Dawn Parker [Click]

Dawn Parker has been living and working at the Museum of Motherhood Art Annex in St. Petersburg, Florida as part of the Spirited Woman Residency Program since June, 2017. The goal of her residency is to complete an edited, book-ready version of a writing project she’s been laboring on for several years now. Since beginning her stay with MOM, Dawn has enrolled in classes to become a certified Life Coach. Joining her for two weeks in July, was New Yorker, Christen Clifford who came the the MOM Residency to work on her manuscript about sexual violence, feminism, and radical transformation. Christen’s visit saw her returning to Florida for a second time this year. Hanna Brockbank looks forward to spending two weeks as part of the residency in October. Hannah hails from England, is a poet, and is earning her PhD while working towards a completed collection of poetry about motherhood. If you are interested in learning more about the MOM Residency Program or you know someone who would benefit from focused time away, working in a supportive environment, and whose concentration is on the maternal, please find out more here. [LINK].

2017 Residencies:
January – Christen Clifford
Summer – Dawn Parker
July – Christen Clifford
October – Hanna Brockbank

MOM Residency Progress Report with Dawn Parker

Four and one half years ago, I started writing. I’ve been writing my story; a heartbreak as catalyst for a breakdown; the realization of the breakdown and heartache being symptoms of a larger history of issues; followed by a plan to learn how to love myself as a way to heal my life. Although it’s been an amazing journey of revelation and unexpected manifestation, I can’t really say I could give you definitive methodology that would help you learn how to love yourself. I have no formula or magic bullet. I do not have an article I’ve penned called, “The Top 10 Ways to Learn How Love Yourself”, that would give you any answers. 

From my experiential expertise, self love, it’s actualization and the resulting personal manifestations, are as uniquely individual as a fingerprint. No one person has an architectural design that can build an internal structure to house generic self love that has the ability to stand strong in every individual. Our emotional bodies are put together with different parts, influenced with different histories, and spoken in different languages. Self love is our intimate relationship with ourselves. No one way will work for everyone. Our differences deserve honor and respect.

What I can tell you, is my story.

Late last year, I’d gained sufficient trust in my intuition to make a much needed geographic life change. With barely an outline of a plan, I made a decision to move away from the town I’d called home for 20 years. I was going “back home” to roots, to family. I was nervous and a little scared, but I leaned in and made a leap of faith. Self love replaced insecurity and doubt with the confidence necessary for me to trust the intuition in my gut to override the fear.

Once I took action, that one leap of actionable faith, everything in my life flowed seamlessly into place in ways that I hadn’t even imagined. My bare bones outline of a plan fell apart, so that, as the cliche says, “Things could fall together in a better way”. Self love was providing me the courage to be brave enough to live an expression of unprecedented personal freedom. It was the manifestation of a long held desire. It was the feeling of a dream come true.

Four months from my arrival back home, I was still unsure of what I was doing or where I was going. Nothing had happened as I’d thought but I was still siding with faith and I kept leaping. On one fortuitous night an Airbnb listing titled, “Spend a Night at the Museum” caught my eye. It was in a cottage at The Museum of Motherhood. I was intrigued.

My first meeting with Martha Joy Rose aka Joy, proved an instant connection. She’s… well, I don’t have sufficient space on this page to give who she is the description she deserves. Fast forward five months and I am the current Writer in Residence/House Mother of the Museum of Motherhood. Self Love healed my pain, sorrow and self loathing into a place of non existence so that I could shine a bright light, from my inside out; a light bright enough for others to see. Joy saw that light. She took a chance. She gave me an opportunity that has changed my life.

Now, armed with love, light, courage, confidence and complete humility it’s time for another leap. I understand now, that when we feel better, when we “love” ourselves and feel good in our skin; when we have the strength to feel good all the way into the marrow of our bones, it’s time to give back. It’s time to serve. I know with the deepest of reverence that it is our charge to help our fellow humans. I believe beyond contestation that it is our obligation to do no harm. It is our imperative to educate and do good works. There’s more, but for now, this is what “Self Love” feels like to me. True story. www.dawnlouiseparker.com

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Spirited Woman Residency At M.O.M – Introducing Dawn Parker and Nancy Mills

Spirited Woman through The Spirited Woman Foundation has created a program with the Museum of Motherhood to honor one courageous unstoppable mother on the next chapter of her journey. The mission of the Spirited Woman Foundation is to help heal and support women through actions of empowerment. The Spirited Woman Residency offers one spirited mom a chance to speak her voice, walk her path, gain time away for reflection and to flourish and thrive through a guided, intensive experience – all within a sacred space, in a creative environment, with the objective of fulfilling her personal dream-goals. Every woman has the right to be heard. Every woman has a voice. Every woman must help another.

THE SISTERHOOD OF THE SACRED SCARVES

– Nancy Mills, Founder of the Spirited Woman and The Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves – Wearing AWAKENED ENERGY –

A large portion of the Spirited Woman Foundation money continues to be raised through the Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves program. It is by purchasing these “Spirited Woman Prayer Scarves” that a portion of each scarf’s proceeds is donated by Spirited Woman into the Spirited Woman Foundation.

Purchase a scarf. Assorted colors and intentions! (Click photo)

The Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves honors women through scarf and ceremony. The Spirited Woman Prayer Scarf is a symbol of spirit, empowerment, and beauty. To date, there have been 18 scarves each with a different theme. 1000s have been sold worldwide, connecting women together energetically. The scarves themselves have been blessed – each carries sacred energy.

Spiritually and socially conscious sisters proudly wear the prayer scarves as a symbol of support at gatherings, marches, retreats and in spirit around the world.

The latest Spirited Woman Prayer Scarf is AWAKENED ENERGY.

The prayer scarves are a Mother’s Day gift for the entire year – filled with meaning – a gift both can share and help others at the same time. By wearing the scarf you will be making a statement of sacred love – together. What a beautiful message to give our daughters, our sisters, our friends, and our divine sacred selves.

PURCHASE A SCARF / SUPPORT SPIRITED WOMAN [LINK]

ABOUT DAWN PARKER – Recipient of Spirited Woman Residency Scholarship

Dawn Louise Parker

Dawn first visited the new Museum Art Annex, which is the personal live/work space of M. Joy Rose in February 2017. There was an instant connection between Dawn’s bright and curious personality and the spirit of the Museum, which had recently relocated to St. Petersburg, Florida from New York. Museum founder, M. Joy Rose and Dawn brainstormed on ways for Dawn to introduce her work at the upcoming annual MOM Conference. That experience quickly evolved into dual participation at the AEHK Art Tour in which Ms. Rose presented new art-works and Ms. Parker dialogued with interested attendees.

“Dawn impressed me from the moment I met her,” says Rose.” I could perceive that she was thinking deeply about her life and was committed to the next stage of her journey, namely that she had dedicated much of her life to raising her child (who is now a successful filmmaker living in California), and that she was ready to come into her own power. She was very focused on the next steps that would help activate her four years of writing, spiritual evolution, and prepare her to successfully launch her new career as an author and inspirational teacher.”

Ms. Parker is a writer, intuitive problem solver, empathetic public relations expert, thought provoker, outdoor beachy sun lover, wildish nature nurturer, and a fiercely independent self-starter. Her current writing project, “Forty-Seven Days of Love,” journals her soulful search to find self-love as a way to heal emotional wounds and heartbreak, anxiety, low self-esteem, negative self-image and relational dysfunction.

Speaking at The Academic MOM Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida inspired Dawn to enroll in the SHFT Catalyst Coaching Intensive to become a certified life coach. She is currently a contributing author to their blog on SHFT.us.

Dawn wants everyone to know how blessed she feels to receive the Spirited Woman Residency Scholarship! (thespiritedwoman.com). “This gift,” says Dawn, “will allow me to focus on completing my book while remembering my very spiritual connection to not only my life but the lives of women everywhere. I plan on wearing my scarf while I write and on making it part of my daily ritual. I also plan on conducting one workshop focused on women’s issues here at M.O.M over the summer.”

WHY DAWN IS A SPIRITUAL WARRIOR

“I am a Spirited Woman because my story is a story of transformation. I have not sugar-coated the raw emotion, love, heartache, and pain that were part of this ongoing healing. I want to share my evolution towards a purer heart, focused on compassion, while seeking forgiveness. I celebrate the glimpses of triumphant peace that I am always arriving at. Telling my story comes directly through an intimate connection with divine love, which is the source of light that runs through every human heart. I know we are not meant to do this life alone. I want to share the knowledge that each of us matters, that our hearts are precious, that each person’s story is important, and that feelings are valid. I want each and every one of us to know that we are capable of living in the light and that we are meant to shine.” ~ DLP INSTAGRAM / FACEBOOK

THE MUSEUM OF MOTHERHOOD

The Museum of Motherhood (M.O.M.) is an exhibition and education center dedicated to the exploration of family – past, present, and future with a focus on women, mothers, and families.

M.O.M.’s mission is to start great conversations, feature thought-provoking exhibits, and share information and education about women, mothers, and families.

The Museum of Motherhood is made possible by the Motherhood Foundation Inc. – is a certified nonprofit 501c3 that creates, produces and presents artistic, educational and cultural content that studies and supports mothers and their activities. MFI disseminates information about mothers for broad public consumption while paying tribute to mothers (Moms) free of age, race and socio-economic barriers. MFI cares about and acts upon the status of women while celebrating their courage, fortitude, and ingenuity, and while addressing important issues, creating meaningful content, and providing compelling community experiences

SPIRITED WOMAN

Spirited Woman (www.thespiritedwoman.com) is a leading global women’s empowerment community founded close to 20 years ago by Nancy Mills. It is known for celebrating the every woman visionary, who is inspiring and changing the world one Spirited Woman Step at a time.

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MAMA – Privatizing Motherhood and the Pussy Bow

Featured Artist is Christen Clifford and her Pussy Bow (from imprints of her actual pussy on silk) – See more at ProCreate for images [LINK}.

Christen Clifford is a writer, feminist performance artist, curator, professor, actor, and mother who lives in Queens.

Christen Clifford, Pussy Bow at the Museum of Motherhood Art Annex Residency in St Petersburg

Christen Clifford, Pussy Bow at the Museum of Motherhood Art Annex Residency in St Petersburg

Privatizing Motherhood
By Karen Malpede

My daughter, born the year Ronald Reagan was elected president in a landslide, has given birth to her first child in the year Donald Trump squeaked into the presidency. She was raised on the outskirts of what was then un-gentrified Park Slope and she lived in a theater, the loft-space held our living rooms and our stage. She was raised collectively—at the Park Slope Food Coop and the Park Slope Child Care Collective, where she and I met friends we have to this day. I mothered her collectively as well. She came with me everywhere: meetings, rehearsals, my monthly food coop work slot and I worked one day a week in her child care. She came with me to women’s conferences on war and peace, and ecofeminism. She camped with me at the Women’s Peace Encampment. I have a photo of her, at four years old, dressed in a striped red and white bathing suit, weaving yarn across the exit to the military base, to keep the nuclear missiles inside. They were supposed to be sent to allied nations in Europe, where they would be driven around on trucks for quick launch into the Soviet Union.

We were successful, by the way, not just “we” of course, but the anti-nuclear movement kick-started by women on the antiwar left in England, at Greenham Common, in Germany and in the US. I was arrested as one of the White House Lawn Eleven in 1979, the year before my child was born. I was arrested, again, at a Wall St. anti-militarism demonstration when I was six months pregnant. These protests gained enough popular resonance and force to result in the nonproliferation treaty between Reagan and Gorbechov (which might well be over-turned by Trump and Putin).

My daughter knew my friends, who were artists, activists and mothers: Grace Paley, Barbara Deming, Dorothy Dinnerstein, Judith Malina, Sybille Claiborne, Eve Merriam, and the only two still alive, ecofeminist organizer and writer, Ynestra King, whose birth I assisted and whose son my daughter met the day after he was born, and Martha Bragin, an international child-of-war trauma specialist with a program for Afghan social workers in Kabul, whose child was in the same collective day care. My daughter was breast fed on demand until she was four years old because she was mainly always with me and because it was always all right, or it felt all right to me, to breast feed where ever I was when she was hungry or needed comfort (although I lost a theater grant for breast feeding at a meeting with a local Brooklyn utility). Only once did I pump milk for her to leave in reserve so her father could do the feed—when I went to the second Women’s Pentagon Action, in 1982; and, then, too, to relieve myself, I expressed my breast milk into one of the public toilets in the shopping mall underneath the Pentagon, which felt like a ritual-offering of sorts. I finished a play the day before I went into labor. I remember sitting on the floor bending over my huge belly collating pages. That night I went to the Women’s Salon which I had co-founded, a monthly forum that hosted major writers the minute their books or plays came out. The play I finished before labor was produced in Brooklyn at the Arts at St. Ann’s, then still in the downtown church, when my child was one year old. The first time I took her in my arms into the church for a rehearsal, she, excited but too young to speak, pointed at the domed cathedral ceiling alive with light flooding through the stained glass. “Mama, see!” The words burst out in awe. It would be months before she actually began to talk, but during rehearsal breaks she would crawl onto center stage, sit and mime the gestures of the actors.

Does all this sound antiquated and odd? Or does it sound like a golden age long gone?

Nothing could be less like the motherhoods of my daughter, or of Martha’s daughter, a housing lawyer, or the daughter of another friend, a public health specialist at a state health and human services department. These mothers spend hours of their day pumping breast milk for storage in refrigerators and freezers to be given to their children when they are away at work. My daughter pumps in an employee bathroom at Trader Joe’s, where she works, in San Antonio, Texas, where she and her husband moved because on working class salaries they could afford to buy a house. Martha’s daughter refers to herself as a small-time dairy factory, pumping milk for her son born prematurely who has yet to be fed except through a pipette. At the health and human services agency, nursing mothers must make a reservation to use the lactation room because it is too small for more than one breast-feeding woman at a time. It never occurred to anyone in   “human services” that women might pump and talk together, about work or children or whatever, or, perhaps, it did occur to someone and this is why the room is only large enough for one. Another friend with a young child works on the UN Food Program and is based in Egypt. She has to pump in the prayer room reserved for her Muslim co-workers; there is no other space even for those whose job is figuring out how to feed women and children across the African continent.

These first-time mothers have all been told, they’ve told themselves, they must breast-feed their children for the first two years. My daughter comes from her late shift at 12:30 am and pumps for an hour so there will be milk for her next shift the next day. Then she nurses the baby when he wakes in the middle of the night. Before she leaves for work, she pumps again, after nursing and feeding her baby his home-cooked organic, mashed fruits and vegetables. And she does without another woman’s voice, another woman’s helping hand. She’s alone in her suburban house.

At the same time as the fetus has become “a person”; motherhood has been privatized. What once was, in my memory, collective and communal, joyful—with children passed from day-care to play-date to sleep-over among families who knew each other well, or taken with their mothers to work and on adventures where there were other adoring adults—has become a solitary endurance contest. The mother must not falter; she cannot not produce the milk. She cannot not go to work. She is busy virtually 24 hours a day; she rarely sleeps and is always tired.

Breast-feeding in public is forbidden. Pumping rooms are lonely, inhospitable places. And the burden of feeding her child an optimum diet—of breast milk—is solely hers.

Pumping machines are plastic cups held by hand to the breast, with cords running to a receptacle and they have a wheezing motor. Some pumps are more effective than others, of course, but the machines that come with most insurance plans are ineffectual and slow; it takes a long time to pump six ounces of milk.

Women are isolated, relegated to private, sometimes unsanitary spaces, while they pump. Pumping is considered break-time from work. I had never considered any of this until I visited my daughter in San Antonio and watched her days and nights. When her husband comes home from work, she goes to work. They have an hour or two at most of waking time together. The child is passed between them. He’s still young, at 9 months, but there are no playgroups and scant outings with other mothers. Most of her friends leave their children with their grandmothers while they work (thus, social security subsidizes childcare), but I live and work in New York.

The privatization of motherhood is, of course, the conservative goal. Our lives should be privatized. We should all be in it for ourselves. Wealthy women can hire nannies, but this is just the privileged form of privatization. Mothers on a treadmill from work to nurture to the breast pump have no time to get together, much less to organize.

The point of anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy’s important book Mother and Others is that children reared and fed by groups of responsive adults (as all children in “primitive” hunting and gathering societies were and are or “they were unlikely to survive”) “learned to perceive their world as ‘giving place.’” This matters greatly, Hrdy says because “Within the first two years of life, infants fortunate enough to be reared in responsive caretaking relationships develop innate potentials for empathy, mind reading and collaboration, and often do so, with astonishing speed.”

Collective childrearing is not just good for mothers, alleviating some of the astonishing boredom of being with an infant or young child; it is essential for children if we wish, that is, to raise empathic adults, capable of understanding and caring for others as well as themselves. Those who see the world as a “giving place” are much less likely to destroy it and themselves with it. They are much more likely to take care.

Hrdy points out those evolutionary traits that are not used can atrophy and disappear. So, she posits, might be the case with empathy. That which once made us human because we recognized the other in ourselves and responded to the stresses and challenges of society as an I and Thou exchange in which our own best interests are best served by serving the best interests of others (for instance, stopping climate change and nuclear proliferation) is in danger of atrophying for lack of use. By privatizing the social activity that demands and creates empathy, we run the risk of raising human creatures wanting this essential trait. A sort of monstrous version of ourselves, loose and amuck in a universe ever-more endangered by our own actions, a world threatened by our inability to understand our own connections.

My daughter’s childhood was spent around the collective, women-dominated antinuclear and peace movements of the 1980ies; it is bitterly ironic that her child has been born into a moment when Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have decided to play “nuclear chicken” with our planet and to drill for its remaining oil. Nothing would be important, now, again, than women’s voices, raised with all the authority of motherhood, to demand an end to nuclear weapons and real public policy actions to retard climate change. At this same moment, motherhood has become such a private, taxing, full-time job that woman lack the energy and strength, and the hours in the day, to secure a future for their children. This is the cost of privatizing our most communal trust: the raising of children to care.

If my, now elder generation, managed, we also failed to leave a legacy that made it possible for our daughters and their daughters to live collectively as we had. All I can say in defense is that my daughter proves my point; she is one of the most empathic people I ever met; kind and compassionate to her core, struggling and aware. But she is alone with her child. Without collective action focused on planetary peace and renewal her child’s future is grim.

Karen Malpede is a playwright and writer, co-founder of Theater Three Collaborative, editor of Acts of War: Iraq & Afghanistan in Seven Plays and Women in Theatre: Compassion & Hope. Plays in Time, a collection of four of her plays, is forthcoming in 2017. Her work appears in The Kenyon Review, Torture Magazine and The Brooklyn Reader, and has been published in The New York Times, The Drama Review, TriQuarterly, Confrontations and elsewhere. She is an adjunct associate professor of theater and environmental justice at John Jay College, City University of New York.

M.A.M.A. is the Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, as an International exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read about updated initiatives.

#JoinMAMA  @ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg
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Residency At The Annex [Christen Clifford]

Here at M.O.M., residencies offer an opportunity for an intensive focus on your writing, art, research, or special project. M.O.M. accepts one residency per time period and we are pleased to announce our first opportunity beginning January 1st, for two weeks, with artist, performer, and academic Christen Clifford. Find out more about the requirements to participate here and access our online calendar.

The M.O.M. Art Annex Residency Program is currently open to students, artists, and scholars engaged in the study of women, mothers, fathers, and families. This live/work space in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, Fl is an opportunity for those wishing to focus for an extended period of time on research, writing, or art-making in a quiet setting, close to amenities, in a supportive environment. If the residency doesn’t work for you, but you want to visit, then you can plan a trip on AirBnB  as well [Link].

M.O.M. has a long relationship with universities and art organizations around the world including: Materials for the Arts (NYC), St Petersburg Arts Alliance (FL), The Mom Egg Literary Review (NY), Procreate Project (London), The Artist Parent Index (Virginia), The Mamapalooza Festival, Demeter Press (Canada), M/other Voices (Rotterdam), Columbia U (NYC), Teachers College (NYC), Manhattan College (NYC), Marymount Manhattan College (NYC), Eckerd College (FL), and more.

About Christen

Christen Clifford, a feminist writer, feminist performance artist, curator, professor, actor, and  mother artist whose performances and writing use her experiences of maternal sexuality, menstruation, rape, and the female body as material, is launching a new project called Pussy Bow.

The Pussy Bow is silky blouse with a long, floppy bow attached to the neck. Currently a popular fashion item, Clifford reimagines it as a feminist action disguised as a fashion accessory. Hers is real pussy bow, printed with images of her own pussy.

Last September, as part of a performance hosted by the dance group AUNTS at New York’s Ace Hotel, Clifford used the wireless internal-camera vibrator Siime Eye to broadcast photos directly onto the walls of the hotel (and to remote viewers through Periscope) from inside her vagina. She took these images and created a pattern that she then printed onto silk and fashioned into a long, thin, stylish scarf. Clifford will donate 10% of each Pussy Bow purchase to Planned Parenthood.

The Huffington Post writes, “there’s an entirely new way to wear genitals,” and Style Mic proclaims the Pussy Bow is “making waves,” and “capping off the biggest fashion trend of 2015.” The Daily Dot lists ideal Pussy Bow models: “Donald Trump. Also: Michelle Obama, Lena Dunham, Cecile Richards [President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.] Anyone who loves pussy, anyone who loves equality and style.”

We will be updating you as the new Art Annex continues its mission in the new year.

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Christen Clifford Live Performance

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