Today we began adding the background color and continued tidying up the edges of the shapes we painted yesterday. As persons continued to express their delight in our work and offered many words of encouragement, Lee-Andra and I reflected on the generosity of the passers-by while we worked on the Our Living Heritage mural. We introduced a tips collection headed by Shellece, to which persons were asked to make contribute whatever they could “to help buy lunch for our hardworking artists.”
This added a new dimension to the mural experience as we interacted with the onlookers. Persons gave verbal and monetary tips which were received with the utmost gratitude. The story behind the mural was spread with each person we stopped. They will all carry the memory of the interaction with them as they have been woven into the community story of the Centennial Mural.
It took a tremendous amount of courage and persistence to persevere in spite of the preconceptions about how persons who respond to our requests. The experience left us all (artists and passers-by included) with a different perception about our fellow Vincentians. The extent to which many of them were willing to give was surprise to us all.
Shellece was a sight to see decked out in her painted apron with a hand painted “tips” sign taped to the front. Anjali was the umbrella holder providing shade for the both them while assisting with flagging down vehicles. Francilka observed earlier in the morning that “more people were stopping to give their encouragement and support since we started painting”. The positive remarks increased significantly once we began engaging persons as they passed.
We were grateful to everyone that passed that day. Even those who did not bother to stop. Their rejection was a source of motivation for Shellece and Anjali who eagerly jumped at the next opportunity to try their luck. In the end the rewards we recieved went far beyond the monetary contributions gained. Shellece said it best after she was turned down by one driver (who I might add was breaking traffic);
“At least I got him to smile…that’s worth a lot more.”