Archive for December, 2008

Our last day!!!
December 13, 2008

We cannot photograph the youth, but here are a few results. We found that collages seem to work out better than individual art works. We think this is because cutting and pasting on a theme is a little less intimidating than drawing.

So… today was our last day of 10 weeks at the Holton Youth Facility working with corrections youth (high school boys). My partner was KT Rusch (musician). We did art and music in a non-structured way with them. It was my first time working with this demographic and my experience was heart-warming. It wasn’t KT’s first time working with the boys at this facility. She told me they were the best group she’s ever had. It can be a tough bunch.

Every week we came up with something new or piggybacked off of what we did the week before. Today we gave them short survey’s to fill out for our personal curiosities. We brought brownies. All the survey’s came back with some surprising, but not really, things. Though not all participated, the majority showed their appreciation for us being there verbally or on the survey, and throughout the session by wanting to participate even if they didn’t have to. There were no grades, only a space to express themselves creatively or not.

My favorite project, where I felt the most positive feedback from the group, was the Obama collage. I outlined Obama’s face on a large poster board, brought in magazines like Ebony, the Source, the Aspectarian, Essence, Black Enterprise, Well, and some the staff brought. I wrote things like “I See”, I hear”, I speak”, “What would Obama Do?” over his eyes, mouth, head, and ears. They cut out some really great photos and words to go along with it, like “soul”, Vision”, “essence”, “#1”. and “top dog” with little guidance from me. Where they recieved the most input from me, and their receptivity to my input, was what made me feel this project was the best. I asked questions about what they chose to put on there. Why the gun? Why the bling, gold tooth, or whiskey label, or Big Mac? The ones that stayed had good answers, those that didn’t, didn’t. Out of it came a very coherent collage that would one day make a good mural idea that I envision wrapping up into another proposal for a different organization. Their reaction to it was “I didn’t know it would look so good.”. And, “it actually doesn’t look messed up!”

Some of them let us know in not so many words we will be missed. We let them know, likewise, and it’s true. According to one answer from the survey question “What will you remember most about this experience?” Answer: “Them good ‘ol days.” I will miss them.

KT and I hope to go back and recount most weeks and our experiences, and post them here for recollection and regeneration.