by Kirby Lindsay, posted 31 August 2012
On September 7th, a photographic display, called ‘Wings In My World,’ will open at the Windows Art Gallery. This opening also allows visitors a chance to step inside Present Sense – a space for rent in Fremont for classes, rehearsals, workshops, and trainings – that occupies the same building as the gallery.
The Birth Of An Idea
The space is intended to “foster mindfulness, art, and community,” as Katie Talbott wrote in a Present Sense newsletter. Talbott facilitates Present Sense, renting space to those who support others in knowing, and sharing, their gifts.
Talbott lives in Fremont, with her husband Tom Talbott (the artist behind the ‘Wings In My World’ retrospective.) Katie Talbott also has a counseling practice, with offices in the Fremont Healing Arts center (near the Fremont Library.)
Talbott started her private practice in early 2011. Her work administering Present Sense pre-dates her professional career. It began three years ago, while she attended graduate school at the Leadership Institute of Seattle.
“I don’t know what came over me,” Talbott joked. A professor asked a provocative question about ‘what would you do if you started right now with what you already have,’ and, “this idea just came out,” Talbott recalled.
She discovered that she wanted to create a place where people could come together, “to practice art and mindfulness.” When she spotted the location at N 41st St on Woodland Park Ave N, “it was just the perfect space.”
The Emergence Of A Community
When she first rented the space, “I thought I’d do more classes,” she recalled, “but I’ve found I like to rent it out.” Talbott has found pleasure in providing space for others to teach and to lead.
“One of the main reasons for Present Sense’s success was a subtle, but important shift in my thinking about a year and a half after I started it,” Talbott wrote by e-mail, “My focus shifted from ‘I want to promote my values about the importance of art and mindfulness’ to ‘I want to host the organic emergence of a community center that grows out of the actual needs of the community that uses it.’”
“One of the concrete results of this shift in intent was that I stopped trying to run the space by myself,” Talbott further wrote. She turned to others in the community, who lent their talents and gifts to aid her in promoting and building Present Sense. “Most importantly,” she said, it shifted her vision to, “thinking about the renters themselves as a community.”
Talbott has, so far, encountered few problems among the people she has rented to. “There is something about the space and the intention,” she explained, “that appeals to like-minded people.” Actually, she pointed out, “people are coming with that same idea I started with. The idea that the ability to create is something we all share. The idea that a spirit of mindfulness and self-awareness is the first step to being ourselves, and relating to other people. The idea that we can help each other, by bringing people together in community.”
The Realization Of Vision
Talbott has also managed to create this community in a space that sustains itself. She doesn’t make a living at it, but “I see it as a community service project.” She has also been able to keep the rates reasonable and, more importantly, she said, “people like renting there.”
Full information for all classes currently offered can be found on an on-line schedule at the Present Sense website. Weekly activities include an open Alcoholics Anonymous group on Sundays, and a Mindfulness Practice group Talbott leads on Wednesdays & Fridays. A monthly class called ‘Circle of Sound’ led by Valerie Piacenti uses the tools of the voice to increase health & wellness. Some workshops, like a half-day Mindfullness Retreat led by Talbott, take often less often. This one is on September 19th.
On the second Fridays of each month, Present Sense hosts a free community salon for those curious about the instructors and their methods. On September 14th, Susan Pullen, a creativity coach, will lead a session called ‘Creativity Mojo Booster,’ from 7p – 9p. On October 12th, Kate Gavigan, ‘The Artist’s Way’ instructor, will lead an evening of ‘home-grown’ performance called ‘Use Your Outside Voice,’ from 7p – 10p.
“When people come together,” Talbott said, “they can create something new and wonderful.” For those interested in exploring abilities un-tapped, or under-explored, Present Sense may be worth a look. “I think of classes here as mini-sabbaticals: a place to step out of the everyday pace of life for a moment and listen to your own small voice; a place to find the courage to make decisions in the face of uncertainties; and a place to be grounded in the knowing that you are continually creating the fabric of your life,” Talbott has written.
For those interested in finding a place to host a class, rehearsal, or workshop, find rental rates and information on the Present Sense website.
For everyone, stop by Present Sense, and the Windows Art Gallery, on September 7th, from 6p – 10p, (or on Wednesday, September 5th from 6p – 9p,) to see Tom Talbott’s ‘Wings In My World’ show – and see how a provocative question grew into a caring community called Present Sense.
- Classes Bring Fremonsters To ‘The Artist’s Way’
- by Kirby Lindsay, May 9, 2012
- Experienced Student Sculptors Show At Urban Earth
- by Kirby Lindsay, November 28, 2011
- Fremont Abbey Arts Center Caters To Community
- by Kirby Lindsay, February 10, 2010
- Space For A Party? Hardly.
- by Kirby Lindsay, January 11, 2010
©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.