Artful Seeds: Art Making Experinces as a Catalyst for Growth

 

GOALS
As a complement to 400+ permanent exhibitions of original artwork The Art Connection (TAC) has facilitated around Boston, we developed  Artful Seeds . The Artful Seeds workshops  create collaborative partnerships between TAC and social service agencies who want to engage their communties with hands-on, art making  experinces. Based on the nature of the services agencies provide, and the variety of obstacles faced by those they serve, there are few opportunities for moments of reflection and release. In an effort to execute our mission at TAC to provide arts access to under-served communities, we seek to utilize art as a holistic support for our  partners.

OUTCOMES
The overall outcome of this workshop is to use art making as an immersive experience that breaks the monotony of their everyday struggles. Since Artful Seeds  is an extension of our core Art Donation and Placement Program, we customize the art making experience following meeting(s) with the agency partner liaison. Additional outcomes include the opportunity to:

  • Increase our Partnerships & Programs (the two strategic objectives of TAC)
  • Support the unique needs of specific groups within each agency (like those navigating through homelessness, substance abuse, disease, mental health, and other traumas)
  • Provide an additional low barrier entry point for arts engagement

CORE WORKSHOP COMPONENTS (Approximately 1-2 hours)

  • Icebreaker: Can include an affirmation exercise, visualizing sacred spaces, mindful meditation, etc.
  • Demo: Demonstration of art techniques that can be utilized during class (i.e. acrylics, pastels, watercolors)
  • On Site Studio Time: Clients engaged in art making
  • Closing: A reflection activity that allows participants to review their work and that of their peers

CUSTOMIZATION & FUNDING
The Art Connection works closely with the agency partner to provide the necessary documentation for their funding vehicle. Based on the scale and number of workshops  the agency partner is interested in hosting, TAC will determine pricing.

 

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SYNOPSIS OF SAMPLE WORKSHOP
After preliminary meetings with Project Hope, we developed an Artful Seeds workshop with the theme, Woman as Storyteller: Exploring Symbolism in Painting with Watercolor. One of the stand out works from their placement came from art donor Jeanine Lindeheim. Jeanine’s paintings often have abstract forms that lead viewers to an open interpretation of what’s happening in the artwork and what it could mean. This workshop had participants focus on abstract forms or symbols they can create that tell stories of importance to them. There were 24 participants, most of whom were first time painters. At the end of the workshop participants took their paintings home. Project Hope also gifted everyone with the children’s book “The Art Lesson” by Tomi DePaola to encourage sharing of the experience with their families.

Selected participant feedback:
“It was refreshing.”
“Painting helped me relax and stay calm.”
“I loved hearing different things from the facilitator to help me get my art where I wanted it to go.”

TESTIMONIAL
“Some of these women have experienced many struggles and traumatic things, so to have an opportunity to do something like this is just really wonderful. It’s a break from their everyday and gives them an outlet for things that can be difficult to talk about. There were so many who not only tried new things, but also smiled for the first time in a while. It may not seem like a lot, but believe me the little things show how much this makes a difference for their well-being. It’s not just about a singular experience. We want the women to know that what they do and learn can be shared with their children. Art and literacy can be tied to each other to keep the cycle of sharing skills and experiences going,”- Donna Henderson, Project Hope Director of Adult Educational Services