Q: What would you change about the Art Expression program?
“I’d probably keep it how it is because it really brings people together and it makes you feel better about yourself.”
Q: Was there anything you learned to do in Art Expression that you didn’t think you could do before?
“I did not believe in myself but the teachers did and now I know I can do everything I think of.”
“Before Art Expression, I didn’t think I could share my feelings.”
“I learned to use clay and share my feelings/opinions with others easier”
A middle school student stated that she learned that anything is possible with the right attitude, stay focused on the task at hand and not to be afraid to use your imagination.
“I was able to make new friends from different grades”
Q: After being in Art Expression, are you more likely to speak up for people who are treated unfairly?
“I’m more likely to speak up for people because I saw how our Art Expression teacher would speak up for people.”
“Yes, because I don’t want anyone to feel left out. I don’t want them to feel like that, I am not letting them feel like that.”
“I know that other people have feelings and I want to protect them.”
“Yes, because I’ve talked to people in Art Expression that I’ve never talked to and they are really kind.”
Q: After being in Art Expression, do you feel like you are better at taking care of problems without getting angry?
“Yes, because usually I get upset but when I messed up I just kept calm and fixed it.”
“Yes, because I can draw my anger on a paper without yelling or getting physical.”
“After being in Art Expression, art brought the true me out.”
“Talking to and hanging out with older students than me who all have different personalities helped me realize that certain personalities aren’t weird or scary.”
“There is no wrong answer in art. So if you do mess up or have a problem it won’t be wrong. Don’t get upset.”
“If I could join Art Expression again I would do it.”
Long-term student testimonial from alumna of the Art Expression program:
“As a freshman in college looking back, I can still see the incredible impact that Art Expression had on my growth in self-esteem, ability to connect with others, and leadership that have lasted me to this day. Art Expression sessions additionally gave me the opportunity to develop my communication skills as my fellow students and I collaborated and bonded over our love of creating art. Looking back, I think that the positive experiences that I had in the sessions helped me to grow in my love of school and people in general.”
“My 10 yr. old daughter is an ESL and special-needs student…She is fully included and has really learned how to combine her language and other skills to view this world and to create beauty.”
“Our daughter enjoyed her time at Art Expression. She has improved how she listens at home. I am hearing more “I am sorry,” when she doesn’t listen. She has been much kinder to people in our family. Thank You!”
“My son has been generally happier and proud of himself after Art Expression.”
“My daughter loved the class! I think it gave her more confidence to go with her initial ideas.”
“She was able to be social with something that was academic-not sport related. Our school focuses more on that. Great to have a social activity that uses lots of different parts of the brain.”
“Art Expression helped my child to increase her creative thinking.”
“The program provided a wonderful opportunity for my daughter to express herself in a very creative way and has inspired her creative and artistic abilities at home also. We bought and brought out some supplies that she needed to work on projects at home. She is a conscientious and competitive student academically so this was an extremely pleasurable experience for her.”
“I believe when students learn a positive outlet for pent-up frustrations such as artistic expression, they can recharge their minds by relaxing and enjoying life… I believe the long-term hope of this program will carry them into adulthood. When faced with stressful adult situations, my hope will be that they reach for a pencil or paint brush, and paper, instead of drugs or alcohol. That they know they have a choice. If we can achieve this, we will all win.”
“Art Expression is valuable because it brings together a diverse group of children once a week for six to eight weeks and creates new relationships among students and between students and teachers…Not everyone is an athlete, a girl scout or boy scout, but everyone has the potential to be an artist. Art Expression provides a wonderful environment for children to learn to work together and overcome uncomfortable situations.”
“The projects were well planned and prepared to allow the students to freely and easily create and maintain a deep level of engagement. Frustrations were met with problem solving and support from fellow classmates and friendships formed.”
“When students voluntarily stay after school for art, the entire dynamics change. Everyone is creating and exchanging ideas without fear of judgement and all of the petty behaviors that occur during the regular day, like bullying and tattle tale, completely stop at Art Expression. I’s as close to art utopia as you can get.”
“The students achieved the established goals/objectives of Art Expressions because there has been a significant change in the behavior regarding the resilience to frustrating situations, the socialization and development of friendships with others, the support given by peers to other peers, the risks taken to explore new materials and creative ideas and the examples set by kids on how to properly act in the room/halls/bathrooms.”
“Some of the most effective lessons that our students found beneficial pertained to social interaction skills, bullying and dealing with emotions-all three that impact children throughout society more so now than ever. The Art Expression program teaches students at an early age the important concepts and appropriate behaviors necessary to succeed in the school environment and in social settings.”
In a local shelter, the children look forward to each session with the art facilitator and ask what she is going to do. “A lot of the children want to help her get her supplies in to catch a sneak peek to see if they can figure out what they will be doing. They especially enjoy writing on their wooden chips and putting them in their boxes. They like being able to write down positive things about themselves and their lives.”
Art Facilitators say…
“I would like to highlight one female student’s journey through Art Expression. She began the session very quiet and withdrawn, choosing to sit by herself. Her peer interactions greatly increased, she regularly asked questions and openly participated. Overall, she really came out of her shell.”
“It seemed like each student gained something from the program, whether it was the ability to dive deeper into a problem that was holding them back, finding solutions, or learning how to use art as a way to shift their energy and feel more confident. One of the boys showed a boost in leadership-despite being the youngest, he was often the one to volunteer to go first.”
“I’ve seen some of the children overcome initial hesitation or block and make some really creative advances. One child was trying to create a beach, but wasn’t sure how to use the materials to make it. She improvised with yarn as the sand and made something called spaghetti beach. It was a nice little victory.”
At a local area shelter, the Art Facilitator prompted each of the children to imagine themselves as superheroes. Sharing and self-reflection was well displayed during this time, and emotional and social intelligence utilized. The children were then given a blank book in which they were able to create “a day in the life of me as a superhero” and thus further creatively reflect and elaborate on their own original idea.
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