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Flenniken Landing Residents Host Inaugural Art Show 
Flenniken Landing residents displayed their artistic talents at an inaugural art show July 31. 

Dorretha Greenlee

Dorretha Greenlee’s table featured her crocheted scarves, coloring book pages and poetry. She stood at the front of the gathering and read a piece called “I Miss You” about her experience of having complicated and painful relationships with her family and still care deeply for them. 

The poem brought tears to the eyes of her friend and neighbor Bambi Anderson, whose mother died in April. She said she can relate to the mixed emotions in Greenlee’s poem: even as she mourns the loss of her mother, she rues some past experiences and describes her Flenniken family as good as or better than her own flesh and blood relatives. 

Bambi Anderson

Anderson’s two tables showcased her coloring book pages (she uses a vibrant mix of colored pencils and gel pens) and various crocheted items. She said being creative helps relieve her depression and anxiety. “It helps me get out of my own little world,” she said. 

Bambi’s mother taught her to crochet. Together, they made hats and scarves to donate to homeless shelters. She said that, before coming to live at Flenniken, she stayed at a women’s shelter and found a crocheted toboggan she and her mother had made and donated. 

During her life, Bambi has been both giver and recipient, homed and homeless. 

“Healing takes place in community,” says Chris Martin of Knoxville Leadership Foundation, which manages the 48-unit permanent supportive housing community, which opened in 2011 and receives funding from the City's Community Development department. He observes that Flenniken residents come from vastly varying circumstances, many of which inspire and encourage isolation.

“Living here can be a lonely experience,” he said. But spaces like the community room (the renovated elementary school’s original gymnasium) and programs like this art show, can facilitate connections between neighbors. “We want them to feel they have a contribution to make and a safe place to share it.” 

Kathy Wyrick rock 1   Kathy Wyrick rock 2

The art show was the inspiration of Allison Ward, an intern at Flenniken who is working on her master’s degree in social work at the University of Tennessee. Her initial idea was to present the opportunity for art lessons to Flenniken residents. But once she saw Kathy Wyrick’s collection of painted stones and discovered that other residents pursued their own artistic endeavors, she set to planning an event to showcase the community's art. 

Marilyn Kallet

In addition to refreshments, the reception included special guest performer Marilyn Kallet, the City’s newly inducted Poet Laureate.

Kallet performed several of her poems, including the sentimental “Fireflies” and a hilarious poem about an expensive but disappointing roasted chicken she bought one night in Au Villard, France. She was hungry and didn’t want to cook, she said. She knew better than to buy a precooked chicken in this small town where no one buys precooked chicken. But she paid the equivalent of $30 and found herself with a barely edible bird. What else could she do but write a poem? she said. 

The poem made everyone in the room—residents, staff, visitors, friends and family—laugh. 

Posted by ptravis On 03 August, 2018 at 4:00 PM