Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Building creative thinking and self esteem through art

I'm leaving for Nicaragua in August with the intention to work with a community development organization there; specifically to help them with a new program they have which combines art and community development. They recently opened an art gallery, which they hope to turn into a successful business. However they also hope to use the space and the program to promote art and culture in the community. For example, they are currently running an after-school art program for local kids.

Tonight I attended a social get-together sponsored by a local NGO here in Toronto to introduce a representative from a Nicaraguan organization that works with children to support their development using art and education. "Children in rural Nicaragua , like all children, require creative outlets and opportunities to develop their creativity, express themselves and develop self-esteem." (see:

I am reminded of an observation that a friend of mine made about working with children in Guatemala:

"[When they tried to] have the kids draw a jungle animal for a jungle theme along the wall, the kids couldn't come up with ideas as to how to draw any....When we did little english classes the kids were only comfortable copying exactly what my friend would write down on our little chalk board- improvising and coming up with their own answers just didn't happen. When we did storytelling in the classrooms there (my friend M did the reading!) they were in chaotic, cinderblock classrooms completely devoid of art, colour, pictures that you see in classrooms here. The kids fought over the books we brought with us (endearing a sentiment if not a little violent at times when they would hit each other over the head with the books to get at them!) All the more reinforced the importance of arts and creativity in children's lives."

Perhaps our little gallery in San Juan will be able to make a difference in some children's lives.

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