Saturday was a day of service for me. In the morning I volunteered with one of my favorite local non-profits: NOMAD Art Bus.
NOMAD Art Bus participated in Localtopia, an event that supports keeping St. Petersburg local. There were local artists selling their wares, companies selling their services, food trucks keeping the masses nourished and happy, non-profits showing off the services they provide to the community, musicians sharing their songs, and more.
This was my first event with the new bus. There were more things to tape off so the artistically enthusiastic didn’t paint the lights, locks, windows, and doors. Paint had to be mixed, and smocks untangled. Then the community arrived to paint.
Then the community arrived to paint the bus. My favorite part! Children and adults approached, often shyly, wondering what was going on with our tent and the bus. “Do we have to pay?” No! But, if you have a donation you can contribute so that everyone can have fun painting the bus and creating other art, it would be most welcome.
“Please let me help you with your smock.”
“Take the brush and the paint pot with you. Switch colors as often as you like. Have fun!)
Some ask what the overall mission of the organization is. “Art for all! Donations allow NOMAD to offer art to foster care kids, domestic violence shelters, halfway houses, and other folks who might not have access to artistic outlets.
“Is it just about painting the bus?” NOMAD offers a lot of artistic projects to the community. Some classes let folks make their own stamps. Some offer lessons in weaving. Recently NOMAD offered a quilting class. The bus is fun and one way the organization offers outreach to the community, but that’s not all.
And I’m glad to volunteer with an organization that offers such wonderful opportunities to everyone. In a time when art is often the first thing to go in education programs, we have to make those opportunities to feed our soul with creative outlets available. To everyone! Keep fighting the good fight, NOMAD!
After finishing my volunteer shift, I walked around and checked out the rest of Localtopia. There were so many cool vendors. There were martial arts and skateboarding demonstrations. Rebekah Pulley was playing great music. There were a ton of people, and the walkways were congested. But everyone was pleasant and kind. All of this was going on less than a block from my apartment.
I feel very fortunate to live in St. Pete. And I’m happy someone introduced me to NOMAD Art Bus.