Calling All Artists to the Feast

Eid begins tomorrow. Summer heat continues. School will probably start here in Egypt in about a month. Who knows what this country will look like then but there will be a new US ambassador. It is almost time to countdown to the end of Ramadan. One last day of fasting.


Arabic countdown for English-speaking beginners like me


ashara = ten (looks like a one and a dot)


tisa = nine (looks like a nine)


temeynia = eight (looks like an upside-down V)


sabaa = seven (looks like a V)


sitta = six (looks like a seven)


khemsa = five (looks like a circle)


arbaa = four (looks like a backwards three)


teleta = three (looks like a backwards seven with an extra bump)


itneen = two (looks like a backwards seven)


wahid = one (looks like a graceful one)



Teaching dance in a Northwest Bosnian village in 2011

Teaching dance in a Northwest Bosnian village in 2011


Now I was supposed to go to Greece recently for the UNESCO CID World Congress on Dance, but I was robbed. And the stolen passport and visa created too much drama. In the end, it became impossible to make it to Athens on time. Fortunately, the guts of my presentation were read aloud in my absence. You can read it here under the 26 July section. This non-happening trip was funded in part by a grant from Donna’s Good Things. Since the flight was nonrefundable, I feel a need to do a bit of a project to fully respect the grant.

So I had an idea.

Eid means feast. Let’s cook up some artistic goodness with all the momentum growing from the Am I a Dancer Who Gave Up? response. This is what I’m awkwardly, charmingly calling the August Feast of Artsy Good Things.

I am asking all artists reading this (define artist as you like) to go out and do good things this month. Here are some examples of what you could do:

  • play an instrument in the treatment room while children are getting chemotherapy
  • go to a shelter or hospital with your camera, set up a photo shoot area, and do lovely family portraits
  • bring your children to an elder care facility and all dance together for an hour
  • paint a portrait of a child in Hospice
  • bring a dance company to perform all throughout the halls of a summer school
  • join a Board of some kind and talk like an artist
  • create and donate costume pieces or fashion accessories for children in a Ronald McDonald House
  • set up an instrument petting zoo in a public park or hospital lobby
  • talk to a teen who is facing hardship (medical, economic, social), learn from them, then co-teach something and help them set up a kick-butt portfolio
  • lead an arts workshop in a divided or insular community, faith-based institution, or refugee camp
  • take an arts-based class in a neighborhood you’ve never been to before
  • work with a veteran to compose an original song, poem or screenplay
  • teach children of the incarcerated how to create beautiful things with shadow boxes
  • teach seniors how to create beautiful things with video and digital media
  • whatever show your working on, invite someone unexpected (politician, nurse, homeless teen, security guard, cleaning staff) in on a rehearsal

The idea is to get out in the world and do some good with the arts. For an hour or two this month, or much more extensively if you wish. Please write in the comments section below what your Good Thing is. These will then be passed on to folks at Donna’s Good Things so they can see all the artistic good being done in Donna’s name.

Together we will feast on the arts this Eid. And just see what happens!


  1. Joanne

    Over the next two weeks, I will be working as a volunteer on a community mosaic mural for my neighborhood with thirty youth workers and three lead artists. The goal is to complete this mural by August 17th for a celebration of this wonderful project.

  2. Heather Hornik

    Shawn, what a beautiful idea!

    Joanne, I love public mosaics! I would love to participate in a community mosaic mural some day. I’m keeping my eyes out for one in western Massachusetts.

  3. Ashley Fargnoli

    Just spent a week volunteering as a dance therapist at the Orphanage, Dom Bjelave in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

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