Practical Kindness guests share moments in their lives when someone gifted them a small act of kindness that made big impacts in their lives. The Practical Kindness project, founded by local artist and multimedia storyteller Brandi Malarkey, aims to highlight the good in humanity across all spectrums of the community. Contributed image / Giraffic Media
Local content creator and TAP partner artist Brandi Malarkey doesn’t consider herself a naturally kind person.
It’s a slightly odd admission coming from someone who recently launched a multimedia project called Practical Kindness.
Brandi Malarkey, owner of It’s All Malarkey and founder of the Practical Kindness project.
“I’m really not that nice,” Malarkey said. “But I tend to believe people want to do something good when someone is experiencing hardship. They tend to not want to be rude or intrusive, or they don’t really know what to offer. Or they think they need to do something really big, when something small might have the same impact.”
Her hypothesis is the impetus behind Practical Kindness, a compendium of kindness-themed podcasts, blogs, short videos, social posts and special themed weeks that highlight a specific topic, organization or cause.
“The idea behind Practical Kindness is to share the acts of kindness that were meaningful to us so it gives others ideas for ways they can help others when the time comes,” Malarkey said.
Project collaborators are Andrea Engebretson of Giraffic Media, Ricot Aladin of Professional Lunch, Gallery4 artists and Prairie Public’s radio hosts Ashley Thornberg and Dave Thomas.
“Morning Coffee,” by local artist Andy Martinez illustrates that the simple act of sending a friend or loved one a quick text can help keep people connected. Contributed photo / Practical Kindness project
Taking a bigger bite
Shortly following the exhibit, Malarkey piloted a theme week, which consisted of a batch of videos, blogs and social media posts about what it’s like to run for local office and featured the first Native American woman elected to the North Dakota Legislature, Ruth Buffalo, and Moorhead City Councilmember Deb White, among others.
Prairie Public’s Main Street recently started airing the Practical Kindness podcast, too. The most recent one highlights interviews with members of Memory Cafe of the Red River Valley.
Executive Director Deb Kaul guest blogged for the project, and Malarkey will continue to post videos and other content about the organization through this week. Read Kaul’s blog here.
Malarkey also provides free resources on the Practical Kindness website, called, “How Can I Help?” where people can go to find simple ways to give or care for someone needing a little extra. For example, a post called “Play to Your Strengths” lists suggestions for identifying what people have on hand right now that might be an easy way to give.
Next up for Practical Kindness is a deep dive into the lives of single parents and the Jeremiah Project. This batch of content will start to launch in May and lead up to a celebration of Mother’s Day.
Hard as her heart may be (that’s sarcasm, by the way), Malarkey is throwing out all sorts of content in all sorts of places to see what seems to stick and resonate with people. But the vision will always be there: to make kindness simple, accessible and meaningful.
So with big ambitions, Practical Kindness will grow story by story, tip by tip, little by little.
“I think that people tend to believe that if they can’t offer something big, then it’s not worth offering anything. They don’t think those small things are really going to help,” Malarkey said. “But so often the things that people share that mean the most to them is something little.”
About the author
Lonna Whiting is a freelance writer and owner of lonna.co, a content marketing and communications agency located in Fargo, North Dakota. She is a frequent contributor to The Arts Partnership’s content library and also provides strategic communications consultation to the organization.