During a recent art class, the topic of feeling lonely came up amongst the kids. Once everyone has settled in, and the art making has begun, I ask the kids if anyone would like to share something from their day. No one is ever forced to share, but inevitably they all do. And in this casual way, our group is talking about real situations and feelings they are experience in their worlds. Like feelings of loneliness and what it means, how it feels, happens and how they deal/respond...if they do... During the class, they asked each other questions to understand their stories better, they related their own experiences and in thier own way even gave each other a little advice. It was pretty sweet and magical to witness. The feel in the room slightly changed...we all felt more open and connected as a group.
As this happened, the art making, hand made prints and cut outs inspired by Matisse continued. These kids are between the ages of 5 and 8! And they have thoughts, feelings, ideas and inner worlds they need to express too.
As an artist, I feel it's important and helpful to teach children about different mediums, techniques and artists, so that they grow in knowledge, curiousity and possibility. But equally and maybe even more important, is to make space for the spirit of expression and creativity to be fully welcomed. Art can be healing in this way. Things we may not recognize we need to let out or know how to, can find natural and safe way to be expressed.
As you can probably tell, I am a big lover and believer of the arts, all the arts and its gift to affect and enrich lives in small, everyday and significant ways. xo