Photo Courtesy of Joel Bergner
As part of our effort to focus on the good that art brings to the world, we are highlighting the work of five art-inspired initiatives dedicated to helping others. These stories bring to light the immense power of art to strengthen the human spirit.
In a refugee camp in Lebanon and a hospital room in Oregon, art is helping people connect and heal.
Here are five powerful stories:
The Za’atari Project
For millions of Syrian refugees the concept of home — a place to return, a community where you belong — is a distant memory. The Za’atari Refugee camp in Jordan is the second largest Syrian refugee camp in the world, and inside life is on hold for more than 100,000 refugees. Conditions in the desert encampment are difficult and hardly recognizable from the life people left behind when violence engulfed their homeland.
Artist Joel Artista partnered with aptART, ACTED, UNICEF, ECHO and Mercy Corps to bring art and community workshops to the Za’atari camp. Children participating in the program contribute to murals and race brightly painted wheelbarrows around the camp—bringing color and a brief distraction from the bleak circumstances. In addition to creative work they also discuss water sanitation, hygiene, conflict resolution and other issues critical to life in a refugee camp.
Beads of Courage
When are beads more than just beads? Beads of Courage is built on the concept that beads are laden with meaning—and throughout history have been used for currency, decoration, jewelry, and ceremony. Artists from around the world donate beads for children to use in necklaces, bracelets, lanyards, and other adornments. The beads are then used as a way for seriously ill children to tell their courageous stories through art.
Many of these children spend months at a time in the hospital recovering from intensive surgery or preparing to undergo new procedures. Along this journey, the beads become a child’s prized possession and help to personalize the hospital environment.
Photo Courtesy of Joel Bergner
Inklude is an art and design studio that works with adults with autism and developmental disabilities to empower them as artists and entrepreneurs. The artists at Inklude design and execute their unique creative projects in a collaborative studio environment. Along the way, Inklude provides them with resources and guidance to help them succeed. The facilities at Inklude support a wide variety of mediums for many artistic interests — from sculpture and jewelry to drawing and painting.
Inklude’s program engages artists from start to finish. Not only do the artists create, they also decide how the art is displayed and have the opportunity to earn an income from selling their work. This enables Inklude artists to develop both business and creative skills. Check out some of their work in the online store.
Art Bridge Houston
The guiding philosophy behind Art Bridge Houston is that art heals — an idea supported by numerous studies. With this in mind, their mission is to bring the healing power of therapeutic art to people and communities most in need. This year alone, they will serve more than 3,000 people with classes ranging from calligraphy to embroidery.
Art Bridge works primarily with homeless and at-risk youth and families living in poverty. They are also expanding their work to include homeless adults, veterans, and people suffering from chronic illness.
Photo Courtesy of CHAP
The Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP)
Both in and out of the hospital, the recovery process can be a difficult time for children and families. CHAP recognizes that this struggle doesn’t end when the hospital stay is over. They offer healing arts programs to children, teens, and families impacted by illness, disability or special needs.
The work CHAP does is both prolific and powerful. For more than 10 years they’ve provided 50 hours of healing art per week at hospitals and clinics around Oregon. During each of those hours, children are given a relief from their illness and time to create, imagine, and strengthen their spirit.
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