In this year of many challenges, teachers are eloquent about how the art-making process in 2020-21 ArtistsInspire projects has encouraged students to understand and develop resilience. As Chelsea Elementary School teacher Jennifer Bardell writes of their project with Teaching Artist Emily Rose Michaud,
“Art has the power to walk us through the process of transformation and the magic of what is possible… I just wanted to share my gratitude for having the opportunity to participate in this project. I was genuinely so moved by the beauty of it all. The intention setting, the art, watching how each student connected with it in a different way… I couldn’t help but notice that underneath the techniques, the intentions and interpretations, an undeniable interconnectedness shone through. How even when we are all apart….we can still make something beautiful together. The importance of highlighting & celebrating our interconnectedness has never been more important than now. The project as a whole truly embodies our resiliency of spirit and our resolve as a community.”
When planning their ArtistsInspire project with Teaching Artist Jessica Houston, teacher Hélène Boivin of Ayer’s Cliff Elementary School also wanted students to understand their importance and influence as part of a community. Hélène writes,
“The whole idea of involving all the kids and making them feel that they are part of a community, that they can make a difference was reached… [Jessica] took the time with each group to talk about the beauty of nature, the importance of taking care of our world and that everything has its importance… She made sure that every kid had a specific part of the drawing to paint and that each part was crucial for the harmony of the final result.”
In more feedback on art-making supporting Youth Mental Health and student resilience, Chateauguay Valley Regional High School’s English generalist Kimberly Hardy writes,
“This experience was the highlight of this challenging year. [Teaching Artist Rachel McCrum] brought us each agency, by helping students discover the power of words to be able to shape one’s experience of struggle. Now that we are in the closing chapter of this year, many students cite Rachel’s virtual visits and lessons as the most valuable learning they did this year.”
Accounts of fostering Youth Mental Health through art-making is feedback we are thrilled and honoured to receive. Many thanks to the artists and teachers fostering this important life skill for students.