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11 Things You May Not Know About ArtPop

11 Things You May Not Know About ArtPop

September marked Watershed's eleventh year as a community! To celebrate, each month until next September we’re bringing you a list of ELEVEN things someone in our community is passionate about. In addition to picking up some interesting new knowledge, we hope this series will help you get to know a handful of the incredible people who call Watershed home!


February’s ELEVEN list comes from Watershedder Wendy Hickey, the Executive Director and Founder of ArtPop! ArtPop's mission is to promote local artists' work and make art accessible to communities through available media space. 

Wendy says, "ArtPop is my heart and soul and I hope to make ArtPop my full time job one day soon. Helping artists jumpstart their careers and leading successful lives as professional artists is a dream come true."

While helping launch the careers of local artists is ArtPop's priority, a by-product of the mission is that communities are being exposed to art without having to seek it out. ArtPop brings art to the masses. They understand the need for galleries and museums, but believe that art has no boundaries and desire to bring art to you!

Wendy believes Art is powerful, art is healing, and art has the ability to transform and bring together divided communities. She also believes we need art in our lives now more than ever.  

Without further ado...

11 Things You May Not Know About ArtPop

1) Art + Public Outdoor Project = ArtPop

2) Our mission is to promote local artists’ work and make art accessible to communities through available media space.

3) ArtPop is a 501c3 and headquartered right here in Plaza Midwood. 

4) ArtPop has 8 members on the Board of Directors, all located here in Charlotte!  We are all volunteers.

5) We are seeking fundraisers, sponsors and grant writers to help our cause, know anyone? Send them our way

6) Since our inception in Charlotte in 2014 we have featured the work of 80 different local #CLT area artists in our program. 

7) We are on the streets of 11 cities today, with 163 artists in the program so far!  

8) We are opening 3 brand new cities this year to include Charleston, SC, Nashville, TN, and Columbus, OH. 

9) In addition to the artists work on billboards, the artists can also be seen on Uptown CLT news racks and on a digital billboard at Ballantyne Village... more to come!  

10) We are changing the lives and careers of local artists.

11) We hope to bring the program all over the world one day, see where we are so far at ArtPopStreetGallery.com click on the ART tab and then click on the thumbnails! 

Thanks for educating us about ArtPop, Wendy! We love how you use your passions and talents to help others and work to make Charlotte a more interesting, beautiful place! To learn more about Wendy and ArtPop, listen Co-Pastor Matt O'Neil interview her from stage during our 2017 Stogies & Stilettos series. 

Do you have an interesting 11 list you'd like us to consider? We'd love to hear your idea! Tell us about it here.

11 Things I Love About Malawi

11 Things I Love About Malawi

September marked Watershed's eleventh year as a community! To celebrate, each month until next September we’re bringing you a list of ELEVEN things someone in our community is passionate about. In addition to picking up some interesting new knowledge, we hope this series will help you get to know a handful of the incredible people who call Watershed home!


December’s ELEVEN list comes from Steve Cook, long-time Watershedder and founder of Equitas, a non-profit which provides opportunity through education for vulnerable children in the developing world. 

In 2006, Steve was reading an email and saw something in the sidebar that caught his attention: there are 27 million slaves in the world today. He clicked on the link and read an article about human trafficking in the world, and how there are more slaves today than there were when slavery was legal. Steve was then faced with a decision. He could close the article, go about his normal everyday life, and pretend he didn’t know anything about this, or choose to act on this knowledge and do something about it. He chose the latter and has never been the same.

Equitas is one of Watershed's global justice partners, and we're so proud of what Steve and his supporters have been able to accomplish in the name of love. Today Steve gives us a taste of why he fell in love with Malawi, the country in Africa where Equitas recently built a school. Who knows, maybe after reading Steve's ELEVEN list you'll feel drawn to this special place too...

11 Things I Love About Malawi

1) The smiles. Malawi culture is one of the friendliest I’ve experienced in the world. It matters not where you are - on the street in a bustling city or in the most rural area of the country - if you greet a stranger with a wave and smile, you will consistently receive a wave and smile in return.

2) The singing. Music is an integral part of life in Malawi. From sunrise to sunset, women and children can be heard carrying beautiful melodies while cooking, fetching water from a well, or working around the home. And when the choir comes together, it’s a wonderful array of full harmonies sung by men with booming bass and tenor, and women rounding out the sound with higher voices. You’ll also hear the occasional high-pitched trill.

3) The dancing. When a group comes together for a performance, singing is always accompanied by dancing. One of the highlights of my visits to Gadi Village is when the church choir performs. I join the men and boys in the back rows and try my best to keep up with their fast footwork. The inevitably end up laughing very hard at my attempts.

4) The meals. In the villages, people sit on bamboo mats on the floors of huts when eating meals. Before and after the meal, a basin of hot water with a cup inside is passed around, and you pour water over the hands of the person next to you so they can wash up. Food is placed in the center and bowls are passed around. It is an intimate time that always sparks interesting conversation.

5) The climate. Temperatures range from lows in the 60’s during the winter to highs in the 90’s during the summer. Since the country is so close to the equator, it definitely feels warmer during the heat of the day. But it is generally mild and can be very pleasant when there is a breeze.

6) The community. Most homes in villages are small. Rooms serve multiple purposes for eating meals, sleeping, or gathering for family discussions. But the majority of life is shared with family and neighbors in the common areas outside the homes. The open space beneath the shade of a large tree is your “living room." Some of my most cherished times in the villages have been walking through the fields or sitting on the porch of a home with my friends there. I’ve passed hours of a day like this with very few words spoken as we just enjoyed being together.

7) The markets. Loud, fast-paced and colorful, markets (larger ones are often referred to as trading centers) can occupy all corners of a major intersection on a highway or city street. They can be an adventure for your senses as you experience the aroma of searing goat, dried fish, grilled chips, dust, and diesel exhaust all at once. You can find everything from ripe fruits and vegetables to clothes and shoes at these vibrant markets.

8) The stars. Rural Malawi has no electricity. Standing in a village several miles from the nearest city means there is no artificial light. And this means the sky comes alive with galaxies and trillions of stars you could never see otherwise. The U.S. is in the Northwestern Hemisphere, and Malawi is in the Southeastern Hemisphere, so you will see magnificent, unfamiliar star formations. 

9) The wildlife. Visits to a Malawi game reserve can reveal diverse species of animals. Elephant, leopard, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, crocodile, zebra, cape buffalo, a large variety of antelope from the smaller bushbuck to the massive sable, warthog, baboons, and numerous smaller animals such as mongoose or porcupine. They even introduced a pride of lions from South Africa to a reserve this year.

10) The energy. The children in a village never slow down. At all times of day they can be seen running, laughing, jumping rope, playing football (boys) or netball (girls), dancing, or simply smiling. It never ceases to amaze me how much joy can be gleaned from life despite abject poverty and the harshest of living conditions.

11) The sunsets. With no large buildings to block your view, sunsets in rural Malawi can overwhelm your soul. It is delightful to watch the immense sky morph through its magical hues of yellow, gold, orange, red, and maroon before settling into its midnight blue and finally, darkness. It makes your heart feel light.

Thanks for sharing your passion with us, Steve! We're so grateful for your heart and are inspired by what has transpired in your life since clicking that link 10 years ago. We love partnering with Equitas and we cherish the opportunity to connect with such a special place on the other side of the world!

Do you have an interesting 11 list you'd like us to consider? We'd love to hear your idea! Tell us about it here.

 11 Things That You Might Not Know About ImaginOn

11 Things That You Might Not Know About ImaginOn

September marked Watershed's eleventh year as a community! To celebrate, each month until next September we’re bringing you a list of ELEVEN things someone in our community is passionate about. In addition to picking up some interesting new knowledge, we hope this series will help you get to know a handful of the incredible people who call Watershed home!


November’s ELEVEN list comes from Watershedder Becca Worthington, the Children’s Librarian at ImaginOn in Uptown. This former Peace Corps Volunteer has a background in theatre and a Masters degree in Library Science, making her the perfect fit for the job! 

If you’ve never been to ImaginOn or don’t know much about it, buckle up! This whimsical tour through one of Charlotte’s most exceptional establishments will give you a renewed appreciation for libraries... especially this unique one our city has the privilege of calling its own!

Without further ado, here are 11 things that you might not know about ImaginOn!

11 Things That You Might Not Know About ImaginOn

1. It's the only existing hybrid children's theatre/children's library in the United States. Fist bump.

2. Almost every piece of artwork hanging throughout the building is an original children's book illustration. If you get close enough, you can see eraser marks and White-Out and faint pencil lines. It gives a beautiful sense of the work that goes into picture books, and you can specially request an Art Tour through the ImaginOn website.

3. Where most public libraries in the country offer 1-2 programs A WEEK in the summer months, ImaginOn's Spangler Library offers six programs EVERY DAY for ages 0-11 and the Teen Loft offers additional daily programs for ages 12-18, plus self-directed activities throughout the building, a free summer exhibit for all ages, and completely free magicians and performers for our Terrific Tuesday showcase.

4. There is a 7-foot Cruella DeVille puppet in the loading dock hallway (from the Children's Theatre production of 101 Dalmatians) that staff members decorate weekly with weird hats and glasses and found objects for our own enjoyment. She's kind of the freaky pet of the building.

5. The welcome desk was especially built for Jon Stewart, who hosted The Daily Show coverage of the Democratic National Convention in 2012 live from ImaginOn. He let us keep it.

6. On the back of a sign next to the parking validation machine, facing only the people who sit at the welcome desk, there is the following language: 

"Excuse me, can you validate my parking?"
"You parked beautifully. Your father would be proud."
(wipes away tears) "Thanks."

7. The dragon that guards the front entrance is actually a fully functioning four-person puppet that the Children's Theatre of Charlotte used in their play The Reluctant Dragon. And it has the ability to breathe smoke, too. (Yeah. I know.)

8. The stained glass window on the mezzanine level next to the play fire truck was the library set piece from the Children's Theatre production of Beauty and the Beast. I secretly want to assemble an Oceans 11 team to help me stage a heist to take it home with me.

9. The building has a fully functioning multi-story scene shop and carpentry studio where all the theatre sets are constructed, painted, and assembled on site AND a fully staffed costume shop where all the costumes from shoes to bustles to wigs are conceived, designed, and created in-house. Plus we have a sweet costume storage area in the basement that's like walking into a movie studio wardrobe facility. They let me borrow a brocaded princess gown for Shakespeare Saturday, and I got asked about 16 times if I was an actual princess.

10. There is a costume stage in the Story Jar area that is open for creative play, which means that there are frequently groups of tiny children dressed like Superman and an astronaut and a medieval knight all playing together. 

11. It's the reason I moved here. A little over a year ago, I was living in New York, working a day job in book publishing and a night job as literary manager of an off-Broadway theatre company while getting my Masters in Library Science to become a children's librarian. When I decided to write my thesis on the lack of performative and theatrical training for children's librarians, I kept stumbling across this amazing place in my research called "ImaginOn" (in some mythical place I'd never been called "Charlotte") that was both a theatre AND a library. Be still, my heart. So I featured it in my thesis, and the very same day I got my Masters degree, ImaginOn posted an open position for a head children's librarian. I was packing a U-Haul two weeks later. Best thing that's ever happened to me!

We're SO glad your research led you here, Becca! Thanks for giving us the inside scoop on ImaginOn!

Do you have an interesting 11 list you'd like us to consider? We'd love to hear your idea! Tell us about it here.

11 Tips for Baby's Best Start

11 Tips for Baby's Best Start

Last month Watershed turned eleven, and we're going to party like it's 2005 all. year. long. to celebrate!

Every month until our twelfth birthday we'll bring you a list of ELEVEN things someone in our community is passionate about. In addition to getting to know some of the incredible people who call Watershed home, we hope you'll pick up some interesting knowledge along the way! 

This month we'll hear from Rachel Coley: pediatric occupational therapist, child development blogger, and mom! Rachel is the brains behind CanDoKiddo, a business dedicated to helping parents confidently and playfully give their kiddos the best start possible. Fun fact: Rachel also used to be on staff here at Watershed!

About starting CanDoKiddo, Rachel says, "I never planned to start a blog, an online business or write a book 8 weeks after becoming a mother. But the photos I posted on my personal Facebook page of the ways I was playing with my newborn son were met with overwhelming response from fellow parents.

My passion for early childhood development informs my parenting in ways that my friends were telling me they found helpful. My professional expertise as a pediatric Occupational Therapist gives me a different lens on babyhood that others were asking to learn more about. 

Out of that collision of my professional background, my mission to help others and my personal journey as a mother, CanDo Kiddo was born."

This month Rachel brings us a list of 11 Tips for Baby's Best Start. We're EL-LOVIN' her 11 ideas! 

11 Tips for Baby’s Best Start

1) Offer open-ended toys. When possible, opt for simple toys with many ways to play like stacking cups, play scarves + toy animals instead of push-button, battery-operated playthings.

2) Provide free movement playtimes. Minimize time contained in seats, swings, car seat carries, etc. Offer playtime on a flat surface + while held as much as possible throughout the day.

3) Change your baby’s position frequently. During awake times, place baby on his sides, on his belly + on his back during playtimes. Vary the ways you hold + carry baby.

4) Wear baby when possible. It's easy to overlook how much time baby spends each day in a car seat carrier, swing or bouncy seat. Whether you're running an errand or making a salad, wearing baby is a better alternative when baby needs soothing and you need your hands free.

5) Observe and respond to your individual child. There is no single “right way” to parent. Don’t feel confined by a single approach or methodology. Instead, find the pieces of advice or guidance that feel right for your individual child and to your gut.

6) Get outside every day. Help baby explore the world through his senses -feet in the grass, touching the bark of a tree, hearing a stream or smelling a flower .Embrace different seasons + weather.

7) Wear baby when possible. It's easy to overlook how much time baby spends each day in a car seat carrier, swing or bouncy seat. Whether you're running an errand or making a salad, wearing baby is a better alternative when baby needs soothing and you need your hands free.

8) Rotate toys and offer a few at a time. Purposefully stock baby’s play spaces with a few books and a select few toys to promote more deep, sustained play. Change toys every few days or weeks.

9) Speak as if your baby understands. While some “baby talk” is normal, try to also speak to your baby as if he understands. Offer him choices + let his eyes or his gestures tell you what he prefers.

10) Be selective in when + how you help. Allow baby to struggle through problem-solving moments during play. Offer empathy + encouragement first, then as little help as possible if baby needs it.

11) Set + reflect on long-term goals. Parent intentionally by deciding what values and emotions are most important to you+ check in often to see if your daily actions + words match those.

Like what you've learned? Visit the CanDoKiddo website for more where that came from! And follow CanDoKiddo on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Rach!

Do you have an interesting 11 list you'd like us to consider? We'd love to hear your idea! Tell us about it here.