Those of you who are friends or have been reading this blog for a while (not mutually exclusive groups by any means!) know that my day job is being a social worker at a small nonprofit agency and that this past fall my agency was within hours of laying folks off. (If you are new to my blog, you can read about it at this earlier post or by clicking on the Southside Family Nurturing Center label).
We've been waiting these past few months for the county that contracts with our agency to release the new specs for our future contract. It was supposed to be released in March, but we were not really surprised that it was not released on time.
Over spring break, our director received an update from the county. Yesterday at a staff meeting our director shared the news that basically the county does not have the new specs ready but the county has informed us that starting July 1st they intend to cut our monthly budget allotment in half! The bad news doesn't end there. The new contract proposals don't look to favor agencies such as ours.
The bottom line is that staff will be cut...soon. At the end of the month we will have more news and shortly thereafter layoffs will likely be announced. At this point it looks like 5-6 people will lose their jobs. With the 2 positions recently vacated this is 20% of our staff.
It's hard hearing this kind of news as you're heading home for the weekend...definitely puts a damper on weekend festivities. I'm taking in the news, trying to digest it, not quite ready to take action.
Except I knew that I had to paint. And I knew exactly what I had to paint. I had to paint Hope. I went to the studio on Friday night and started painting a new large piece that I had dreamed about at the end of Spring Break. It is bright and colorful, full of flowers and life.
I will be busting my butt to finish this painting in time for the Spring Art Crawl (just 2 weeks away!) I worked on it for several hours today. It is similar in nature to the whimsical winter paintings that I started working on in early winter--when I was first dealing with the possibility of losing my job.
I read somewhere that in these tough economic times people are more interested in art that expresses hope and optimism. I don't know if that is true, but I know that I sure what to paint work that reflects hope. I want to paint with bright, vibrant colors. I want to paint things that make me feel better. Hopefully others will feel more hopeful when they look at my paintings.