Valley native Lillie Cummings grew up with her head in the clouds, daydreaming about various art mediums, bouncing between photography, drawing and crafting. In October, Cummings signed up for a virtual art journaling class through The Making Space and was inspired by the freedom of fusing of her creative interests to begin Art Hour with Lillie.
In early December, Cummings created Art Hour with Lillie, an independent project geared to investing more in her creativity over open video forums.
Cummings is partnering with Harrisonburg’s community creative platform, The Making Space, to bring her art hour to the Valley to guide locals in a variety of prompts and musings over Zoom tonight.
For the past four years, The Making Space has worked to provide a safe space for Valley residents to explore their artistic inklings through classes and open art hours. The pandemic has not budged the nonprofit’s commitment to encouraging community artistry. Through bimonthly programs, The Making Space continues providing a platform for the community to play with different mediums and styles of art.
Cummings said Art Hour with Lillie would be impossible without The Making Space, and she is excited to flesh out her new platform and provide prompts and inspiration for those who need creative guidance.
“Art Hour was inspired by the open studio TMS does every month in non-COVID times,” Cummings said. “I wanted to create a weekly practice for making art. Ultimately, it’s about self care. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, you deserve to be creative.”
Cummings graduated from Christopher Newport University with a minor in studio art and is currently completing a self-imposed artist residency in Richmond, focusing on a 100-day collage project.
From 7 to 8 p.m. today, Cummings will facilitate the first, but maybe not the last, Art Hour with Lillie at The Making Space. For today’s event, Cummings will begin the evening leading an introduction to facilitate a sense of community and play gentle music in the background so everyone can lose themselves in individual projects or peacefully sit back until inspiration strikes.
Event coordinator Erin Conway said it’s important to maintain The Making Space as a pressure- and expectation-free environment, and the program will continue looking into online workshop options like Art Hour with Lillie.
“Our goal with that was to make it more like our regular open studios where it’s a space for people to create together, not necessarily a class,” Conway said. “Creating that safe space for people to make art.”
During the pandemic, Conway said, The Making Space online events routinely draw 15 to 20 participants.
Broadway resident Emily Winter first partook in a community class through The Making Space in late 2019 for an acrylic pouring class hosted at Brothers Craft Brewing. Winter said the workshop exceeded her expectations, and she has also enjoyed the virtual creative hours from The Making Space.
“It definitely exceeded my expectations. The project was really easy and turned out so well, and the facilitators were really friendly,” Winter said of her first experience. “It was a really good way to socialize and be creative without having to meet in person.”
While Cummings created her Art Hour with the intent of designating time to her personal crafts without a set goal of cultivating an audience, she envisioned it could become a community space to fend off loneliness during the pandemic.
Her current Art Hour with Lillie program has attendees from eight cities across five states, and she is constantly striving to bring more people into her shared art space experiment.
“My goal with Art Hour is that people have a moment to decompress from their day and leave feeling a little more creatively energized,” she said. “It can be hard to find time in our week to be creative and flex that part of ourselves, so Art Hour makes space for that.”
Contact Kathleen Shaw at 574-6274 or [email protected]. Follow Kathleen on Twitter @shawkareport