The VIVA Project

My friend Jessica and I are big fans of social experiments, especially ones that involve positivity, creativity and art. We’re always sending links to each other to stories about that kind of stuff. A couple of weeks ago, I sent Jessica a link to this story about these guys in New York City. They made signs with rap lyrics that mention a specific place in the city, and then posted the signs in those places. They knew they’d get stolen in about a minute, but they didn’t care. It was something they wanted to do, just to do it. Very cool.

Jessica replied with a link to this site about the Before I Die project. Boards are posted in cities around the world (there’s one in San Antonio, which I didn’t know) and people can walk up and write what they’d like to do before they die. When the board gets full, it’s wiped clean and then everyone starts over.

Jessica and I were talking about how cool it would be to do something like that during Fiesta. Sadly, we didn’t actually have the idea in time to make a giant board somewhere, so we decided to do little ones instead. “Viva Fiesta!” is San Antonio’s cheer during the 11-day celebration. That’s “Long live Fiesta!”, literally, but it’s also “Yay Fiesta!” “We love Fiesta!” “Fiesta rocks!”, etc.

Thus was born the idea of VIVA Boards.

I had a couple of blank canvases at home, so I took Jessica’s design request for her board and went to town:

My board, first round of paint.

My board, first round of paint.

Second round. Yay... I mean... viva! stripes! ;)

Second round. Yay… I mean… viva! stripes! 😉

Added the prompt...

Added the prompt…

Jessica's board.

Jessica’s board.

So, during Fiesta, Jessica and I walked around with our boards and invited people to Viva! things. It could be whatever they wanted, just something that they liked, or loved, or made them happy, or that they wanted to celebrate. By the last day of Fiesta, our boards looked like this:

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Hooray!  Our boards make me so happy. (I wrote “Viva VIVA Boards!” on Jessica’s.) 🙂

It would be super cool if next year we found a space to put a giant, colorful VIVA board and people could just walk up and write on it during Fiesta. I have no idea what we’d do with it when Fiesta was over… but that’s a problem to be solved another day. In the meantime, I’m going to frame my board and either put it up in my apartment or at the office. A lot of my coworkers wrote on the board, so it would be cool for them to come visit it if they need a little pick-me-up throughout the year.

That’s The VIVA Project… a new Fiesta tradition!

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My nephew, the artist

I’ve mentioned and shown my nephew’s affinity for art on this blog several times before, from turning my parents’ living room into a comic book to hosting his own art show on our family vacation last summer. Today I’ll brag on him again – one of his pieces from art class was selected to be in the district art show last weekend.

The show.

The show.

The artist, pointing to his work.

The artist, pointing to his work.

A closer shot. (The orange thing is part of a piece in front of it. I didn't want to mess it up by moving it.)

A closer shot. (The orange thing is part of a piece in front of it. I didn’t want to mess it up by moving it.)

My parents' neighbor (on the left), who is an artist and art teacher, my nephew, and his art teacher (on the right.)

My parents’ neighbor (on the left), who is an artist and art teacher, my nephew, and his art teacher (on the right.)

The piece is called “Leaf Prints.” I’m totally biased, of course, but I think it’s great. I was big into art at his age (he’s in first grade) and still dabble with my paints every once in a while, not to mention the whole mandala thing. Art is fabulous. I hope my nephew continues to do it as long as he loves it. I hope outside forces don’t influence him to give it up when he doesn’t really want to. And I really, really hope I get to see what he can do as he gets older. 🙂