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Local Artsy Mamas unite to celebrate and share their talents

According to the local organization, the Artsy Mamas, ’Every mother knows what it’s like to lose her self in diapering, bathing, feeding and kissing boo boos.”

So these moms have decided to do something to avoid getting sucked into the routine of motherhood. The group, which officially started with their first meeting June 2, is inviting all moms to take a little time away from tasks at home or work and have fun every once in a while.

The name, Artsy Mamas, in itself is interesting because it doesn’t sound like just any ordinary moms’ group that gets together to trade brownie recipes and gossip, though they sometimes might.

’Our purpose is to encourage moms to become involved with art,’ Mandy Jones, founder of Artsy Mamas and mother of two, said. ’Whether they used to be artists before having babies or they’re just interested in learning.’

Jones thought about creating this artistic group one day when she had wanted to go to an audition and at the last minute her husband, Michael, was sick and couldn’t watch the kids.

’I kinda thought, ’Boy, sure would be really cool if there was somewhere I could go to do my art (which happens to be theater) and tag my kids along,’’ she said.

She always knew she wanted to create her own moms’ group, she just didn’t know what type, and this particular incident helped her figure that out. She had been in a moms’ group at the time but never felt like she fit in well.

’I have some extreme views,’ Jones said. ’And I’m just different, which is something that I’ve dealt with my entire life.’

Therefore, if you’ve been in other parenting groups and never really shared the same interests, you might want to give Artsy Mamas a try.

Though theater might one of Jones’ strengths, the group participates in all varieties of art.

’We’re planning a lot of different workshops . . . we have seven in the works for the next two to three months,’ Jones said. ’We have zine making, creative writing, stained glass, cake decorating, cookie decorating, knitting and crocheting.’

Bringing the kids to these events depends on the location, which the mom volunteering her services gets to pick, but they are currently looking into creating a baby-sitting co-op for when they have a location that moms aren’t able to bring their kids along to.

In addition to these workshops the moms also put on play-dates and moms’ nights out. So far the play-dates have included making Father’s Day cards and making transportation themed beaded jewelry. For the moms’ nights out they frequent the Coco Moka Caf’ to chat, but they also recently took a trip to Decades in Nashville and had a blast dancing along to ’80s tunes.

Artsy Mamas sure know how to have a good time, but with all these crafts and events, they are not only creating art but a support system for Murfreesboro moms. Their main mission being to ’[provide] moms with encouragement, education and empowerment through the arts.’

One mom, Shea Brock, who has recently started attending activities with the organization, said that it has greatly improved her life and her relationship with her child.

’Artsy Mamas, and the girls that make up the group, have become a lifeline for me in the short months I have known them,’ Brock said. ’Yes, I got into it for my son, but I have discovered so much more about myself . . . we are able to talk about normal girly things but we can also share similar stories about the trials of motherhood, and I feel this is invaluable.’

In their short existence, the Artsy Mamas have managed to come a long way and are currently in the process of putting together an outreach program for underprivileged moms and their children.

’So much [is in store] in the future for us,’ Jones said. ’We are open to absolutely any and everything and any and everybody; I can’t express that enough. I want other cultures, races, religions to feel welcome. That’s important to me.’

With art, coffee and female bonding, this organization is a hit. With approximately 90 people already signed up for the online forum, the number will surely continue to increase with time and word of mouth.

’[Someday] I envision a national or worldwide organization,’ Jones said, ’Why not?’

Perhaps it won’t be too long until they reach this dream, and their ultimate goal of being on Oprah.

For more information on the Artsy Mamas visit theartsymamas.com.

Celebrating Motherhood Through Art

by Artsy Mama Angel Norman

Before having my child, I was an artist. Not a painter or a musician, but creative-minded nonetheless. The need to create has been with me since I was just a small girl. Somehow, though, and really without thinking much about it, I allowed myself to put that great need on the back burner when I became a mom.

As any good mother can attest, motherhood is a constant state of selflessness.

One day back in November, after having pulled off my second annual over-the-top birthday party for my kid, I looked in the mirror and wondered, “What the heck am I doing? Who am I, even?” I had become so selfless that I barely even recognized a glimpse of my former self in my reflection.

I had not been allowing myself ample opportunity to express myself creatively. By pouring all of my ideas into this yearly party, I managed to feed the hunger for awhile, but it was not enough to satisfy me for long, so after my child’s second birthday and my great awakening, I joined a local playgroup to make some new friends, find new opportunities, and have something more on which to focus all my energy.

That’s where I met fellow talented and artistic mama, Mandy Jones. She and I quickly found we had quite a bit in common’both of us quirky and artsy and colorful in our own ways. Months later, Mandy told us that she had an idea for a group to help mothers get back in touch with their inner artists by bringing the opportunity to create and to share their art with their children. It sounded like just the thing I had been looking for. I needed to find a way to focus more on myself without compromising the care and nurturing of my son, and the group Mandy described sounded like just the ticket to help me ease my way back into a creative lifestyle.

During the next few months, I watched my friend Mandy transform her idea into Artsy Mamas. I cheered her on as much as I could and offered my help where needed because I knew this was supposed to happen. I felt privileged to be helping bring this opportunity to life.

Mothers need to be aware there is no sign at the entrance of parenthood that asks them to check their individuality or creativity at the door. If we allow ourselves even the smallest opportunity to lose sight of who we are in our hearts and minds, then we can’t be very effective at raising our children to believe in themselves, their talents, and their dreams. If I can’t celebrate myself as an artist, how can I teach my son to celebrate himself at whatever it is that makes him happy?

Artsy Mamas provides the outlet that ensures we don’t stop creating or focusing on ourselves or our art. I feel blessed to be a part of this movement, especially since I am surrounded and supported by some amazingly talented and unbelievably cool local moms.

I have watched the group grow from 4 members to close to 100 members’all local mothers who have decided they too need to be surrounded by encouraging artsy mamas for their sanity, their self-confidence, and for the sake of their children. I have witnessed how art has given these women the power to stand up and say, “This is who I am. I am a painter / a singer / a dancer and I celebrate me!”

It has filled my heart with gladness to know that I have been there from the beginning and that I have finally found the opportunity to express myself and let my inner artist resurface, all the while maintaining my status around the Norman household as “world’s greatest mom.”

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The Murfreesboro Pulse, Middle Tennessee's Source for Art, Entertainment and Culture News. murfreesboropulse@yahoo.com

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