#7D4H - Marian Shares Her Thoughts #ArtistActivist

7 DRESSES 4 HEALTH: Day 154-160 ~ June 3rd - 9th ~

Title: One Artist’s Reflection 

By 7 Dresses 4 Health creator and performance artist, Marian Brown

“Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.” • Terry Tempest Williams

In small ways everyday we attempt to make meaning in a world that often makes little to no sense. As an artist, I employ various tools to engage in making the experience of life more meaningful; and hopefully fulfilling, for both self and others. 

Simply put, I cannot live a life without meaning. Meaning making is quintessential to my ability to understand and relate to the world around me. Art is the tool I utilize to bridge the gaps when language and syntax fall short. 

Embarking on 7 Dresses 4 Health six months ago I was filled with three parts enthusiasm, two parts fervor, two parts innocent nativity, six parts blind optimism, and two (very important parts) unconditional love. 

Six months ago I dedicated myself to a rather unusual uniform. Designed collaboratively with Kim’s Fashion Design, I found myself enveloped in a cacophony of colors spanning the rainbow. Each dress identical to the next. Each color cloaked in layers of meaning- representing a pressing health issue facing our global communities. Each desperately needing more education and visibility. More voices, perspectives and visions for equity to be raised. 

We have begun raising and celebrating the stories and voices that need to be both told and heard. One by one, week by week, we have begun rising together. A community of guest bloggers has emerged. Communities within communities have surfaced. Dialogue has spurred, and a genuinely inclusive platform has launched. 

We have emerged from the infancy of this campaign in the winter months, through the teenage stages of spring, and now find ourselves embarking on adulthood this summer. We find ourselves humbled by the collaborators who join us at each stage as the seasons turn. We find ourselves perpetually learning, inspired by the individuals and communities who engage. 

I have adopted many new identities. I am a performance artist, healthcare advocate, the batty dress lady, woman of many colors and mystery. According to one of my high school students, my proper name is Ms.Skittle, rather than Ms.Brown (which he noted was not one of the dress colors). 

Many days I wake up with pure gratitude. 

Gratitude that I get to stand in solidarity with those affected by the seven causes.

Gratitude that I get to stand in solidarity with those working to eradicate health inequities globally, bringing our world closer to a vision of equity.  

Gratitude for the opportunity to practice art making in my everyday life. 

Gratitude for the relative ease of getting dressed in the morning. 

Gratitude for the ability to wakeup every morning with meaning, and the opportunity to engage in meaning making. 

Gratitude that everyday I get to be part of something bigger than myself.

Inevitably there are days I wake up and the last thing I desire doing is putting on a bright yellow or hot pink dress. Some days all I desire is my favorite pair of jeans and an oversized hoodie. 

Then I step back and reengage in the profound purpose of the campaign, and the gifts it provides. I quickly shift from visions of my oversized hoodie back to the palette of charged colors hanging in my closet. 

I re-engage in the meditative reflection found in the daily continuity and habituation. 

I re-engage in meaning making. 

I re-engage in purpose. 

I re-engage in breath. 

I re-engage in art. 

I feel alive. 

Call to action: Do you have important information around one of our seven causes: HIV/AIDS, Mental Health, Nutrition, Heart Disease, Maternal Child Health, Cancer, Disability, that you want to share with a wider audience? Do you or a loved one currently live and/or struggle with one of these causes? Do you work in research, advocacy, prevention, treatment or care? We want to hear from YOU! Write to us today: 7dresses@artsconnectinternational.org to become a featured blog writer. Another way to get involved is to wear the color of the day in solidarity. Take a picture of yourself in the color of the day and Tweet it @ArtsConnectInt, tag us on Instagram @ArtsConnectInt, or send it to us on Facebook.   

About 7 Dresses 4 Health (7D4H): 7D4H is a year-long arts and health education campaign lead by visual artist, Marian Brown, in conjunction with Arts Connect International. The objective of the campaign is to promote inclusive community practices through adDRESSing health artistically and collaboratively. To learn more about the genesis of the project, read Marian’s New Year Blog

About this week's look & location: All of the dresses for 7 Dresses 4 Health were designed and sewn by Kim's Fashion Design. Love the look? Visit Kim at 100 Huntington Ave, Boston MA 02116, call her at (617) 267-9299 or email her: info@kimsfashion.com. Mention 7 Dresses 4 Health for a special discount! 

Campaign Update (2017): All 7 Dresses 4 Health blogs were migrated from a former site, so the sharing analytics are inconsistent from when they were first published. We apologize to our guest bloggers, and readers, for this inconvenience. That said, the campaign garnered an average of 5K hits per blog, over 500,000 readers throughout 2015! Additionally, the average number of shares per guest blog was over 150x on social media (through Facebook and Twitter). Thank you for making this incredible campaign possible - and for all that it was for so many. With gratitude, Marian & the ACI Team