Kids Express Themselves with Art

These are just a few of the amaz­ing paint­ings done by chil­dren in the tent cities of Haiti, on the anniver­sary of the earthquake.
Some­times I get so caught up in the aca­d­e­mics and “mechan­ics” of teach­ing art (the ele­ments, prin­ci­ples, and “how to’s”) that I for­get the impor­tance of art as a means of self-expression.  On my recent trip to Haiti, I was enor­mously blessed to get to see this incred­i­ble exhibit of children’s paint­ings that hap­pened to be on dis­play on my last week­end there.  (I mean, really, what are the chances of that??!)  Valerie Noisette is an Amer­i­can artist (born to Hait­ian par­ents) who lives and works in Haiti and orga­nized this inspir­ing eventOn the anniver­sary of the earth­quake, she and her team went into sev­eral of the tent cities armed with can­vases, brushes and paint, and asked the chil­dren there to paint their “hopes and dreams for Haiti”.  They col­lected over 2,000 paint­ings, and dis­played about 350 of them in this ambi­tious exhibit.  While I can’t even imag­ine the scope and com­plex­ity of orga­niz­ing a project like this, what impressed me the most was that she even thought to do it.  It made me real­ize how nar­rowly focused I’ve been on the how-to’s and the his­tory of art, with lit­tle atten­tion given to the idea that my stu­dents might actu­ally want to com­mu­ni­cate some­thing through their art­work!  I was espe­cially touched by the national pride I saw over and over again in depic­tions of the Hait­ian flag and state­ments like “I love My Coun­try” and “Dear Haiti, I Love You”.  Thank you, Valerie, for the reminder that some­times we need to just let kids cre­ate… and then lis­ten to what they tell us through their art!    

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3 Responses to Kids Express Themselves with Art

  1. Adam Trowbridge May 10, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    I love this! Great post. I’m glad we found this place!

  2. A.Marie.Wilson May 18, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    You’re entire blog is amaz­ing and inspir­ing. I have a heart for the youth and a heart for the arts and I find mix­ing the two cre­ates beau­ti­ful expres­sions inter­nally and artis­ti­cally. I am look­ing to imple­ment more art project and pro­grams within my church. Your site is a blessing!

    Ash­ley Marie Wil­son

  3. Cheena Kaul June 16, 2011 at 4:31 am #

    Beau­ti­ful and Inspiring!!!

    My 5 year old son is quite an artist, so we both illus­trate sto­ries as we go…it is fun and I am sure it is help­ing his cre­ative think­ing and abil­ity. Cur­rently he is fas­ci­nated with trea­sure hunts, islands, dinosaurs and ships and draws all this from memory…or his own creation…

    I am try­ing to keep his cre­ative spark alive and also hop­ing to help other par­ents cher­ish the art of their chil­dren as well.

    Just launched a few days back…with this very spirit in mind!

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