It’s all about creativity – that’s our focus at ArtThread. But it’s not easy to maintain that spirit on an organizational level – to permeate it into the day-to-day workings of a group. Sometimes the best we can do is encourage and enable individuals to tap into that part of their spirit.
Last week we once again were privileged to witness the work of an organization that is all about creativity on both a macro and micro level: The Miami-Dade County Public School (M-DCPS) Clinical Art Therapy Department. We attended the opening of ARTWORKS!: Creatively Engaging Students' Strengths, a program that “challenges students to focus on their strengths, understand their limitations and learn skills through the creative process in order to be successful in school.”
This exhibition (more photos), open until May 28th, 2013 at the Frost Art Museum in Miami, features a stunning display of student artwork, as facilitated by this group of dedicated art therapists. Their program is one of the leading clinical programs in the USA, and they integrate the ArtThread Gallery as part of their intervention with students with emotional and behavioral disabilities.
“It’s wonderful to see the progression as the students use ArtThread,” said Dr. Patricia Isis, one of the principal therapists using the Gallery with students. “These tools help us encourage student creativity to help them feel empowered and engaged.”
The exhibition includes art made using a variety of media, and each piece is accompanied by statements from both the student artists and their therapists. Students are encouraged to express they way they feel as they work, and the therapists are now including color and shape components to the intervention – they can assign a color to their mood, and that color is tracked in their artwork.
“We are at the beginning stages of exploring the addition of color and shape as part of our work with ArtThread,” said Dr. Amanda Alders, one of the therapists leading in this part of the work. “We hope to build on the progress we have made during this semester to continue to meet student needs.”
These therapists were trained by ArtThread faculty on the use of the Gallery as part of the original Project 10/ArtThread Gallery launch, but they have taken it to a whole new level - in essence they have made it their own! Their innovation and dedication has transformed both the Gallery and the students – it’s a shining example of infusing creativity into the fabric of everything the organization covers.
“The partnership with ArtThread has been very good for our students,” said Craig Siegel, District Chairperson for the department. “Students learn skills related to self-esteem, self-regulation, computer proficiency, and problem solving. And of course it is wonderful to be able to show their work in a gallery atmosphere.”
We could not agree more – seeing the work and hearing about the program is a fantastic reward for the work we do at ArtThread. We are so thankful to be associated with the amazing folks at the M-DCPS Clinical Art Therapy Department. They even created a beautiful brochure that features their work with ArtThread!
Visit the gallery at the Frost Museum, or visit the work online at the Project10/ArtThread Gallery.
By the way, Project 10: Transition Education Network serves as a conduit between the Florida Department of Education and all 67 school districts in addressing effective practices and research-based interventions to serve transitioning students with disabilities. Our partnership with Project 10 brings ArtThread’s creative tools to thousands of students, teachers, and therapists, and has resulted in the creation of well over 10,000 pieces of art!