In 2011, Nicole developed InterUrban ArtHouse, her current obsession. IUAH is a Non- Profit organization dedicating to purchase and renovate an under-utilized industrial building into affordable, stable art studios, community exhibition/event space and sculpture garden with some of the area's preeminent artists and craftspeople. IUAH won one-of-four 'Our Town Grants' given by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to national pilots in the field of Creative Placemaking.
As a part of this work, through Shawnee Mission School District in Kansas, Nicole is in her sixth year running a local Artsmart/ Cultural Arts Program to hire environmentally-minded, multi-cultural artists to do hands-on programming in public schools. IUAH will Pilot these successes for other schools.
In San Francisco, the renown Chicana muralist, Patricia Rodriquez, literally shoved a paintbrush in my hand, tucked a mural sketch under my arm, told me to climb the scaffold and said, “Paint this.” What began with volunteering to paint a white wall, transformed into becoming a community muralist.
Working in the streets, painting murals in neighborhoods, we were a motley crew of students, artists, neighbors, men, women, Seniors, children, black, white, Latino, gay, straight, left, right…
That inclusion deeply changed me. Doing narrative art in neighborhood streets taught me that the story is not IN me. The story - the narrative - only comes to life between us, only matters among us, not for the Maker alone.
I express an echo, like a storyteller acts as memory. In all cultures, legacies are preserved in words, or rituals or song or dance or paint. All stories, our very histories, require connection, because memories only live between people. Just as narratives live within the connection between people, each time, changing a little. Not even the Maker ever knows its full meaning. I make stories for you to see, but the meaning is yours to tell yourself.