ART4KIDS, INC was invited to do an art workshop at Braille Institute again this year. We had seven tables covered with art materials and an assistant for each of the blind children. Layla said she was going to create a house….. We were all touched by the house she created; not the childhood image with the pitched roof as you may imagine. Her house was a floor plan; her experience of the world. This is the kind of information that is revealed to the therapist in art therapy: the story of the child’s world and the child’s wounds. Later Layla explained she had been adopted last month. This house is her new home.
A second benefit of art therapy is the context it creates: boundaries …‘a box which stores the information.’ Third, it teaches a coping skill to be utilized throughout life.
Pam Schader recently visited The Blind Children’s Learning Center and delivered a large donation of art materials. She ascertained the need to be much greater than expected. A second very large donation of art materials provided will be used at the Blind Children’s Learning Center’s full week Summer Camp for its’ children – complete with every every imaginable visual art experience.
Community donations have provided the funds for these and countless other donations: to Orangewood, Colette’s Children’s Home, CASA, CAST, Friendly Center, Human Options, CSP Teen Shelter Laguna, Laura’s House, Orangewood School, OliveCrest, Miracles for Kids, etc.
Thank you to each of you for your thoughtful commitment, hard work and compassion. Our special thanks to our grant providers & the companies which provide art materials to us at deep discounts.
None of this could happen without you.
Cole and Will: Two Great Guys:
Meet Cole & Will, from Newport Beach, California.
They turned their house into an art museum, displayed their own original artwork, invited all their friends and told them about ART4KIDS, Inc. They raised $500!!
Why? They wanted to help children who are ill, underprivileged or in distress.
Cole and Will, thank you. You rock!
THE WOMAN WITH A BRAIN
She nonchalantly stepped into the elevator and pressed 3. She was holding some folders and she had a human brain sitting on top.
I was making an ART4KIDS, Inc. delivery of art materials to children who are victims of domestic violence. My cart was bulging with bags and bundles and I was in an elevator with a woman with a brain, albeit a plastic one. Hmmm….
“I see you have a brain,” I offer.
She smiles and looks fondly at her brain. “Yes.”
Hmmm… “Do you teach?”
She has been to her classes where she teaches ‘brain health’ to people
who are dealing with epilepsy.
“Do you work with children….?”
Yes, she does. No, they do not have enough art materials. Yes, they
would be very appreciative of a donation of art materials. “Nope, I say.
It does not require a donation.”
“How can you do that?” she asks, incredulous.
“Because we fund-raise, so we are able to help children in distress.”
“HOW do you do fund-raising?” is her next eager question.
“With this voice,” I answer.
I talk to people and tell them we help kids process pain and trauma by giving them crayons, but we also give them hope. They get a sense that
someone cares about their pain and their fear. I talk to friends, colleagues,
and to my students, a lot. I talk to our donors. I ask them to skip a latte, or a new sweater or coat or vacation - and give a child a chance. A chance to feel his heart lift with the feeling of expressing himself and learning to trust again. And they
come through. Year after year. Even this year, when things are very difficult, they
will come through again and we will be able to continue helping the children.
“Very nice to meet you; I will see you soon.”
Today the 13 year-old artist came to my studio. He moved over every inch of my studio with his nose touching the surfaces – the distance at which he has some minimal amount of vision. He stood holding Erich’s new painting with a Buddha collaged onto it with his nose on it and told me it was an image of Buddha from India because of the beads and the Indian pattern in the background. He asked if I had a book of Buddha illustrations, a book of drawing the body, a book of Armenian art, a book of ancient art, a book of Armenian illustrations, and on and on. He is a little human sponge. He looked over all the bookshelves and had me make several color copies of art works from Armenia which he found in the Paul Getty catalogue by scanning page after page with his nose on the paper. He flew through one surface after another, questions flying out of his mouth. I could not keep up. Meanwhile, his twin brothers were spinning in circles on the drafting chairs and I was getting dizzy….
He showed my his amazing portrait work and 2 paintings. I asked him if he knows what he would like to do when he is older and he said, “ Well, Artist, and Religious Art Historian.” I asked him if it was ok with him if he is my favorite person in the world.
He repeatedly returned to my calendar of Tibetan Buddhist images and finally said, “If I can see that I can tell you what country the Buddha’s are from.” In a few seconds, he said, “Tibet.” I said, “Ok, I have to call my son.” Erich was beginning to teach a class in meditation at that moment and couldn’t come over, but I can’t wait for them to meet. We had a long discourse re the meaning of the sand mandala, which he flatly explained to me he understands is a representation of the cosmos and the impermanence of all of life.
He asked me 5 times to find my copy of Siddhartha. I hesitated due to the mature nature of a couple chapters, but his mom said she would buy it and preview it to make sure it is ok.
ART4KIDS, Inc. gave him clay and reimbursed his mother for $100 of art materials. I sent her to the book store and asked her to bring me the receipt.
He did imitations of German and Yiddish accents. He might be able to come and meet us at the art exhibit, which includes his artwork, at the College of Optometry.
He was having difficulty handling the 25 lb. bag of clay – he is not a big guy – and yet he shifted it to one arm so he could give me a hug with the other as he left.
One of the most incredible things I have experienced in my life. I can’t wait to see him again soon. I thought you would enjoy hearing about Sarkis Gekchyan.
19 January, 2008
ARTPACKS delivered to Vajra Vidya Institute boarding school by director of Himalayan Children's Fund. Children receiving an education here cannot return home easily as it is a long and arduous journey. Here they share their delight in having their own art supplies!
School For Life
11 June 2005
Chiang Mai, Thailand
The large Tsunami painting is done by the boy from Khao Lak. His twin brother escaped tsunami by running into the forest. All children in group photo are in the north waiting for completion of their new
school in the south.
Our 50 students are from tsunami areas, living temporarily in Chiang Mai, returning to School For Life in Phang Nga, the hardest hit province in Thailand, on international news as major disaster area.
We greatfully accept art supplies from ART4KIDS, Inc.
Thank you very much,
What is my name?
We carried the bags full of 'materiales de artes' into the orphanage's homework room and spread the crayons, paper and watercolors out on the old wooden table. The boys appeared out of nowhere one at a time, eyes wide and immediately finding a spot to work. Once the table was swallowed in activity, desks were pulled around it, as if it was the hub of artistic life. Small brown legs teetering on tip toe strattled two desks as the boy reached a span longer than believable to access the azul. He retracted to make a small blue spot on his painting and quickly resumed his balancing act to reload the small brush. [The boys have crayons at school; they are not familiar with watercolors.]
Hugo was bouncy and smiley, handsome Armand seriously pursued a drawing, Beto, [a child with Downs Syndrome], set himself up on the floor in a tight corner and produced abstract paintings - several in a row. Gilberto covered pastel crayon colors with black and asked me to scratch "Pamela" into it. This soon became a theme, repeated around the table now surrounded by feeble school desks and paintings covering the floor and all surfaces. A very small four year-old held fistfuls of crayons and extra-special colours in his mouth as his reserve.
The 25 boys of Sanctuario Hogar Guadalupano Mexiquito are abandoned, abused or orphaned and range in age from 6 months, [wailing and comforted by another child], to 25 years - a young man with a mental handicap.
We strolled around the property viewing play yard, pig pens, dormitory, and chapel, escorted by Hugo on one side of me, Armand on the other - both clutching their new ARTPACKS . We followed the director, Ricardo and my dear friend and ART4KIDS, Inc. donor, Gail, leading the little procession. Hugo asked me a question in Espanol which I could not comprehend, but did understand the curious look in his brown eyes. After a second attempt at the question, he sheepishly, slowly slipped his very small hand into mine. We walked; I held his 6 year-old hand as he held his ARTPACK in the other. We chatted back and forth in a wonderful English-Spanish confetti of small boy enthusiasm, Hugo pointing things out to me, Armand walking quietly. "Si, Hugo," "Mui Bonito, Hugo," I reponded.
After several of these exchanges, the contemplative other boy suddenly stepped out in front of me, squared me off with his thoughtful eyes and said in his small boy voice, but with an unnerving seriousness, "WHAT IS MY NAME?"
That small voice, those unblinking eyes, that young psyche - asking if someone in this world knows who he is. The vast Mexican landscape disappeared for me as I looked into his hope and his courage. We were squared off in a moment of giving hope to one another equally. Suddenly ALL the names of the last two hours tumbled through the scanner and once I was really positivo, I said to this expectant moment, " Your name is Armand."
All the fireworks in Mexico do not equal the light that came into his big eyes.
Pam Schader, San Miguel de Allende, Oct 2005
A joyful reception is enjoyed by ART4KIDS, Inc 'ambassador', Chuck, delivering ARTPACKS to school in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and also to local street children.
As we were leaving the playroom at the children’s hospital a tiny tiny black girl appeared like a vision in the doorway. She was less than 24” tall with braids sprouting out of her head in every direction; each one covered with colored beads. She was so small the hem of her hospital gown touched the floor. She had a piece of blue tape across her nose - maybe from an oxygen line. One of the ART4KIDS board members handed her an ARTPACK. Her solemn expression did not disappear completely, but I saw a slight glimmer of something cross her face…something other than pain and fear and illness…maybe the idea of a diversion, of color, of being a child using crayons and creating art.
The 14-year old boy sat on the floor smiling at me. I had come to meet him in his new home. He had recently immigrated with his family from India to benefit from services here for children with muscular dystrophy. I had heard he is an artist. I began showing him all the art materials ART4KIDS was providing for him; he and his brother became increasingly excited as I explained the various media. We sat and visited as they drew and experimented eagerly with the wide variety of new materials – each kind of marker or paint getting enthusiastic comments.
The boy, bursting with excitement, said “ I am wanting.. to be thanking…for all these kinds of arts…..,” and followed that by asking when I could return and visit again. After several inquiries about when I could return, I understood that he thought I was visiting with the materials and would take them away with me. After finally convincing him they were his to keep and share with his family, he said, “ For the second time, I am wanting…to be thanking…for all these wonderful kinds of arts for me.”
ART4KIDS recently donated art materials to the Huichol Indians who live in the mountains near Jalisco, Mexico. There in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mts. children write with their fingers in the dirt at school. A member of the mountain village was visiting me with friends; as I learned of the impoverishment of the village I was grateful ART4KIDS could help. The entire village, including the children, are involved in beading jewelry and sculptural objects; they subsist on a very meager income. Luciano beamed as I assembled some art materials for him to take. When he saw the used colored pencils going into the box he dove across the table to hold them. This cardboard box of crayons, water colors, brushes and pencils will travel with him to the airport in Mexico. There he will meet his wife and children who will help him carry the materials to the village. They will divide the many items amongst themselves and carry them on a ten-hour hike up the mountainside to the remote village which is their home.
It was Xmas day. The Ranch in Desert Hot Springs is a rehab for substance abuse. ART4KIDS was delivering art materials for the clients and lots of beautiful [previously owned] teddy bears for the children visiting their fathers in the rehab. Many bags of bears were piled in the office. As the men strolled through the Ranch with their children, they were invited to choose a bear for each child. I watched as one man thoughtfully looked through the selection. His choice was a pure white bear in a little dress. The bear brought a big smile to the face of his daughter, about 4 years old, as he happily presented it to her, very possibly her only gift from dad this holiday season.
July 8, 2004
One of our patients has been struggling with physical therapy and discouragement since an accident and surgery in 2003. Through a series of therapeutic art sessions which I facilitate, including collage and acrylic painting with body imagery, a light has come back into her eyes which had been hidden for many months. I thank you deeply for the contribution of art supplies by ART4KIDS to our clinic for it helps make these transformations possible!
Gabriella Miotto, M.D.
The Children’s Clinic
Long Beach, California
ART4KIDS, INC. recently sent a huge donation of art materials and clothing via friends of ART4KIDS to an outer atoll in the Marshall Islands. Now the children will enjoy art expression using art materials purchased with your dollars and fun t-shirts and bathing suits outgrown by children here in Orange County, California.
Tukta brings art expression to orphans in Chang Mai, Thailand!