Crossroads Healing Arts Project
Crossroads is a 10-week intensive art program at the p:ear for homeless youth scheduled for January to March, culminating with First Thursday openings in April and May at the p:ear gallery. p:ear works with 15-24 year old homeless and transitional youth through education, art and recreation to affirm personal worth and create more meaningful and healthier lifestyles. p:ear sees an average of 40 youth / day and I hope to impact well over 100 individual youth throughout the duration of the Project. The primary goal is the personal transformation of lives, based on positive artistic mentorship. Studies show through the development and expression of one’s personal narrative, improvements in physical/mental health occur. This also fosters a sense of resolution and reduces the sense of powerlessness over emotionally painful events, making these more understandable and manageable. We seek to create a literal crossroad; an opportunity for the youth to engage with artistic mentors in a new, positive and self-directed way, helping to guide choices based on healthy expression and trust. Also, by exposing these youth to an intuitively compelling medium of encaustic painting, they learn valuable tools that can translate to life and job skills. From safety and spatial awareness to group cooperation, as well as creative thinking and self-motivation.
The complex process of encaustic painting allows for a cathartic exploration of a personal journey. This method involves the building up and layering of wax, which provides a physical metaphor to expand on the personal narrative that will be created in the workshops. The physical painting practice allows for a symbolic version of approaching one’s own issues `one layer at a time,’ an opportunity to expose, hide and uncover, a way to integrate ‘all’ into the ‘whole.’ It can act as a literal container for truths too painful to articulate in words. The ability to burn out with fire, scrape away, and then reapply shows a forgiveness and opportunity for change that many of these students have never experienced. This action doesn´t take away the past, but it shows them how to incorporate it into the next layer in a positive way that adds beauty to the finished product. Installing the finished works into an artistic ‘crossroad’ of abstract street patterns will further validate the idea that all come to crossroads during life. Everyone is in a different place in their journey. There are times when the opportunity to create a new path emerges. This allows for us to act with intention. By purchasing an individual art piece during the Exhibition, a community member is afforded the intimate narrative of the artist, provided in a sealed envelope. This in turn validates the inherent worth of the artist and their experience, and provides the understanding that they are no longer alone.
Help me change the lives one kid at a time through trusting relationship and artistic expression! Let them grow to be whole and self-directed members of society through this healing opportunity and to begin to break the chains of abuse and homelessness.
“No person in our society is free from the affects of addiction”
Creating art to process, inspire and educate on the impact of addiction
with the support of a Project Grant from Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)
“Recovery Panes” is a multi-phase community project involving those who have been impacted by addiction. Participants created a small encaustic painting that represented their personal experience, strength and hope. The complex elements of encaustic, a molten beeswax based paint, uniquely allowed a symbolic and cathartic exploration of their experiences. Participants also shared a reflective written response to the process to be paired with their art.
All individual paintings are joined to form a larger work, framed and presented to resemble large windows with each painting representing a single windowpane. The art is interactive- the individual panels are mounted with magnets, allowing the viewers to rearrange the paintings, symbolizing our need to change our perspective and move towards de-stigmatizing addiction.
Both the ‘Recovery Panes’ and an accompanying catalog will be shown at Portland Center for the Performing Arts from January 5th, 2012 – April 2nd, 2012.