MEET CAREY!

Carey is a Bay Area artist and one of our community coordinators in Oakland.

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Q:  What made you interested in working on Everybody Eats Lunch?  As an artist, I've always been interested in how unexpected social interactions can change our perspectives on our surroundings and shake us a bit from the typical stupor of everyday life (head down, eyes on our phones, etc.). I also love to cook and eat and sharing food can be such a powerful conduit for connecting with people and learning about ourselves in the process. This project brings together all of these elements in a simple and inspiring way, providing an open-ended platform for something powerful to be exchanged. 

Q:  What's your first memory of food?  One of my first food memories is from Kindergarten, when I was growing up in Florida. My class was learning the alphabet together, one letter at a time, using these anthropomorphic inflatable alphabet characters. We celebrated getting through all 26 letters with a picnic lunch with the alphabet characters, even though it must have been sweltering outside at that time of day. For some reason, the local newspaper sent a reporter and photographer to cover the "story" and I ended up appearing on the front page of the human interest section. In the photo I'm squinting in the sun, holding a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich in one hand and a juice box in the other. My mom saved the clipping and added it to our family photo album. Whenever I see the picture, I still have a visceral memory of the peanut butter sticking to the roof of my mouth, the sun beating down on my back, and the cold, frozen lemonade in my juice box. 

Q:  What's the hardest conversation you ever had with a stranger?  When I was in my early twenties, I worked part-time at a women's health clinic one year providing information to women about the clinic's reproductive health services, including birth control and options for termination when they were faced with unplanned pregnancies. It was a deeply challenging and rewarding role, almost like volunteering, given what minimum wage was back then, but I learned more about myself and about other people that year than at any other job I've ever had. I had many difficult conversations with dozens of women every month that year, about deeply personal decisions they were making about their lives, in part based on information I was providing to them. It really taught me how to set aside my personal beliefs and find ways to relate to people from wide-ranging walks of life. I didn't always see eye-to-eye with the women I was counseling, but I am grateful that I got to play a role in informing them about all of their options and supporting their rights to reproductive choice. 

Q:  What are you up to, when you're not helping out on Everybody Eats Lunch?

I am a multidisciplinary visual artist and part-time museum educator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I also direct a collaborative social practice project called Stairwell's, which puts on public programs throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Our programs vary, but often take the form of playful, participatory, artist-led walking tours around public stairways and other everyday spaces. 

 

Meet Erin!

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Erin is a volunteer lunch coordinator in Omaha, and a student at the University of Omaha.

Q:  What made you interested in working on Everybody Eats Lunch?

A;  This project is so different than anything I've thought about doing which made it intriguing. I usually have a pretty materialistic view of art that acts as an escape or distraction. Everybody Eats Lunch is the opposite of an escape, it's able to engage people through people's personal experiences, and it really has the potential to invite a lot of people to pause, focus and be a part of something. I think it's a wonderful chance to find beauty and create stronger bonds within our communities. And great food! Who wouldn't want to be a part of that! 

Q:  What's surprised you about the project so far?

A:   I've been surprised by how comfortable I've been talking with new people and how excited I am to continue. I'm a fairly reserved person, so it's great having an excuse to open up. 

Q:  What's the hardest conversation you ever had with a stranger?

A:  I once went on a week long canoeing trip with seven strangers of all ages and from very different walks of life. We only had each other, so there was a lot of talking. Not only was it challenging opening up to strangers so quickly, it was also a challenge pushing myself to understand new points of view. 

Q:  What are you up to, when you're not helping out on Everybody Eats Lunch?

A:  I'm an art student at the local university in Omaha. My personal art is environmentally oriented and I enjoy being outside, painting and drawing, or messing around with wood. 

 

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LUNCH STORIES:  alex and AMANDA

A visitor to the midwest and a Midwestern local have lunch.. 

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audio BITES

 

COMING SOON

 

 

Meet CHRISTY!

Christy is coordinating  the project in Oakland, and is an artist in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Q:  What made you interested in working on Everybody Eats Lunch?  I grew up in restaurants. My family, first generation Chinese immigrants, had a mom and pop restaurant in Washington, D.C. This was before Chinese restaurants were on every corner, and many people were still scared of food that seemed foreign. I saw first-hand the way food breaks down walls, and how a conversation over food is an expressway to another person's life and their stories….. I also think we are hungry for so many things beyond food.  And food is just a symbol of many things.

Q:  What's your first memory of food?   Eating an orange, and thinking it was weird.  I still don't like oranges.

Q:  What's the hardest conversation you ever had with a stranger?  Sometimes I order or borrow unusual props for film shoots, and those can be awkward conversations initially.

Q:  What are you up to, when you're not helping out on Everybody Eats Lunch?  I'm a visual artist and filmmaker.  I also freelance as a filmmaker and creative director for Bay Area start-ups - I help people launch social good companies in a personal, untraditional way.

Q:  What's surprised you about the project so far?  How quickly people are interested to participate or donate lunch.  It gives me a lot of faith that we can create systems for community outside capitalistic structures. The idea of radical inclusivity, everybody getting a seat, regardless of income and class is part of the basic spirit of this project.  

Q:  What's your favorite lunch?  Tacos.  

Q:  How would you sum up this project?  Comfort food for the times.

 

Photos  (top to bottom) courtesy of Bethany Herron and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts | Madison Warnemunde

Photos  (top to bottom) courtesy of Bethany Herron and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts | Madison Warnemunde