It was an amazing evening! Thirteen street-engaged youth presented their art work at Dominion Chalmers United Church, and over 110 guests came to see some fantastic works of art. The hall was laid out to show the art, and overflowed into the adjacent garden. Guests were amazed at the high quality of art, and the only disappointment was that the art was for viewing only (not for sale).
The youth had the idea of setting up a large table area for guests to be creative with pastels and paint. It was a hit! The youth supervised the table and gave helps and hints to guests that were only beginning to discover their own talents. Seven or eight guests at a time, and it worked well.
One of the youth came into the hall from the garden. She found some flower petals that had fallen from the plant, some strands of grass and wisps of dried grass, and she made a ‘natural’ creation on canvas with the pieces. “Look, it’s from the garden!” she said as she bounced across the hall to show her friends.
That’s one difference with street artists: they can find use in what is usually discarded. Most of us would see these items in our own gardens and think, “Time to rake and compost.” This young girl saw something different: she saw something that was redeemable, useful and beautiful.
It’s a microcosm of what is happening with our kids in the art program. What some consider ‘discards’ or ‘societal throw-aways’ are really diamonds in the rough -kids who have neither had a chance in life nor any positive reinforcement.
Sometimes we can speak words of hope and sometimes we can see hope being birthed.
This is what is happening with these kids. It’s truly beautiful.
I sat beside the ‘garden artist’, and encouraged her creativity and talent. She was quiet when I spoke these words of hope into her life, but seemed to be listening intently.
Later on in the evening she approached me and proudly displayed her ‘real flower on canvases. It was finished and she thought I would be interested. I mentioned that the way she had finished the centre of the flowers was very appropriate (it really was genius), and her smile beamed brightly.
It the kind of thing that just might change a life!