In 2016, I volunteered in Cusco, Peru and organized this art directive that used plastic bottles to create flowers. I took all the supplies to the nearest plaza and set up a sign saying "Arte Libre," or "Free Art." The kids of the local vendors that sold items in the plaza, were my primary participants and they really enjoyed making use of all the art supplies and especially loved using the glitter! It was really something special for them because of a lack access to art materials in their daily lives, and even more so for me to be able to share in their creations and joy.
"Words Unspoken, Voices Unheard"
In 2015, I was asked to have my residents in juvenile detention create a piece for a local art gallery. I knew that I wanted their art to speak to who they are and the situations that they were in, to give people a glimpse inside the minds and lives of these children. So I started by asking them to complete four statements: Something I wish someone had told me, something I wish someone had heard me say, something I had to come to juvie to learn, and things I wish someone had done. Their answers were honest and equally heartbreaking. I then asked them to illustrate their statements by whatever means they were comfortable with. Finally a group of students came together and organized all the pieces together, creating backgrounds and essentially giving them a theme. If you take the time to look closely at all the details you can see/read of the challenges that these youth had to face. It was a difficult piece for some of the public to view, and it moved some people to tears. It's was important to me that people in the community see these children as more than just "criminals," because there is a story behind their actions that gives insight into who they have become and who we have created.