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By, Jadae

This week, we had our second set of sessions for our art program. We received some very needed- and very appreciated- donations that helped this week stay afloat. Going into these sessions, I wasn`t sure if many people would show up or if the same people would come back from Week 1. I did have hope that someone would show up at each location, because art has the power to bring people out of the shadows no matter the occasion. Thankfully, some familiar and new faces joined us for Week 2 and made these sessions a community bonding experience for all who attended.

At our second session at the Belfort House, our young novelist joined us, and a few new artists who missed our first session came to create as well. We had a free painting day; our lovely OHOS founder Mireya gave the young writers a task that allowed for them to use colors to interpret their own lives. She wanted them to choose three colors: one to symbolize the previous day, one to symbolize the current day, and one for the next day. The artists could put these three colors together in any way that reflected who they are and what the colors they chose represented. This exercise lead to the creation of turtles and the sea, among other creations. Through a lot of laughter and comradery, Belfort`s artists took a deep concept and created work that showed us who they are and the hope they have for their future.

The Covenant House brought in a large crowd of eager and diverse creatives. About half of our previous participants came through along with many others who were interested in the program. We had our speaker, Qyjon Clark, bring the crowd together and share his story. This motivated and inspired the young artists; their feelings towards the speech drove them to create art with us. Their excitement created an aura that made the environment feel very communal and safe for everyone present. Some people painted; others decided to draw; a few wrote poetry or rap lyrics. So many different artistic outlets were used during this session. This space really captured the versatility of art and of people.

Week 2 at La Casa Norte, on the other hand, was a sibling affair. A brother-sister duo from last season came to create with us on Monday. As we waited for our talented instructor to commute to our location, we decided to do some work on our own. Our returning siblings decided that they wanted to create as much as they could so that they could have plenty of work for our upcoming exhibit in the fall. The pressure was on to create meaningful art; our participants worked to make something that they could be proud of, Andrew (our very talented teacher) found it worthwhile to recreate his previous work in a novel way, Mireya got to work on basic white envelopes that will be used one day, and I was pushed to finish writing my book after painting a life-sized version of the title page (I`ll have the book done eventually!). In the end, we all worked on something that was beneficial for us.

It was satisfying seeing the turnout for Week 2. I`m ecstatic to see more people join us in upcoming sessions. I also hope that everyone who has joined us during weeks 1 and 2 come back and produce art that they are proud of and want to display for our exhibit. Week 2 solidified the impact of our art program; it goes to show how well art can bring about community in ways that other outlets can`t produce.

 


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