‘Messages’:: July’s photobooth

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It’s been 2 years and 2 months since the May 11th tornado that wiped out nearly a third of my fair city, and my home with it.

It’s easy to forget that. Which, for some folks may not be all bad- because it was a hard thing to go through. But there’s two reasons I cannot LET myself forget.

#1: because God blessed me, my family, and my town in an incomprehensible way- by providing us with safety that night, and by saving hundreds of others with an endless, thankful barrage of ‘I should’ve‘ stories… ‘I should’ve been home….’ ‘I should’ve been asleep…’ ‘I should’ve died.’

#2: Because this didn’t JUST happen to Joplin. Now it’s happened somewhere else (Moore, OK). Joplin wasn’t the first, or the last tragedy to affect the lives and homes of masses. Because I know what that was like- as many of you do as well- I know how easy important the steady stream of encouragement and help is not just during the first ’emergency mode’ wave of shock, but also for months and months afterward as lives are put back together, piece by piece, donation by donation, volunteer by volunteer.

That was a long, dramatic introduction to a generally very lighthearted topic… the third thursday photobooth, here in Joplin Missouri. But I had to give some insight into what’s behind the more serious theme for this month: ‘MESSAGES’.

The idea is, those who come to the photobooth thursday night can contribute a message of hope to Moore, Oklahoma, either creating a sign on-site (markers, paper, etc provided) or by bringing a pre-made sign or piece of art. You can say anything you want… the idea is to encourage those in Oklahoma who lost their homes, who are still struggling to get back on their feet. And if you have a little extra to give, donations will also be taken at the booth. We’ll send both the messages and the donations to Moore when we’ve got it all pulled together.

I think this can be a really powerful thing. Is it because this is a super original, one-of-a-kind idea? Well, no. When I talked to Meg Hulsey from art feeds about my concern of this being a bit similar to some ideas they’d enacted, she responded lightly with ‘Holding signs while taking a photo wasn’t invented by Art Feeds and isn’t an original idea by us’. But she also said to go for it, because it could mean a lot to people.

This also isn’t the first time I’ve done this… I did it two years ago, after the Joplin tornado. You can see that post here.

Hope to see you all at third thursday, and I can’t wait to share the final gallery!

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