ART THERAPY FOR OUR STUDENTS: Another reason to keep art in our schools.
Sometimes as teachers,parents and as a community, we need to be reminded of the difficulties that our children/students are experiencing in their troubled lives. Often unaware or to busy to notice, that the child that stresses us in our classroom is going through greater stress at home. If they even have a home. These are the students that we label “at-risk” because of their frequent behavior problems and below grade level performance in the school. Now I am not encouraging teachers to immerse themselves in the personal problems of their students but after attending the Miami-Dade County Art Therapy department’s art exhibit, I was reminded of the plight that many of our at-risk students endure on a daily basis and encourage other teachers take time to reflect as well.
ArtWorks! is an educational outreach program that provides art education to children with Emotional-Behavioral Disorders (E/BD). Clinical art therapists have designed ArtWorks! in collaboration with Frost Art Museum staff in effort to help transform the lives of at-risk children through art. Student artwork created during art therapy sessions are exhibited at The Frost Museum of Art in Florida International University. Students and teachers are provided guided tours and workshops related to the subject.
These year “Artworks!” exhibition catalogs the art works of at-risks students that have participated in art therapy sessions provided by Miami-Dade Public Schools. Student’s works and writing were assembled to create 5 quilts that symbolized unity. Each student was created a patch for the quilt and connect their emotions through their art. Next to the art was an anonymous statement by the student which made the audience further analyze their work.
One of the most encouraging things about this exhibit was the actual artists that were present at the exhibit. Not only did the Art Therapy help students express their feelings through art but it also gave them a voice. Bravely explaining and defending their work to the audience were many of the art students present. In fact during the quick workshop session were the audience was to created a patch that reflected upon their favorite piece,the art therapy student far out numbered the adults that were willing to stand before the crowd to share their art work. It is great to see how art not only has created an outlet for at-risk students but has also given them courage and pride for themselves and their abilities. Congratulations to the staff of the Art Therapy department of Miami-Dade Public Schools and the Frost Art Museum for a wonderful exhibit and program.
View the pictures from the show I encourage you to read the students statements it adds strength to their work. Enjoy!