ArtVan rolled gracefully through our winter season with themes of “inward”, using metaphors of “Keyhole” and “Magic Windows”, and moving into spring with themes of “What’s New?”, encouraging exploration, creativity, and shared stories of growing.
We welcomed art therapy intern, Carmine Leighton, a soon to be graduate of Prescott College's Masters in Art Therapy Program! Yay for another art therapist to Maine!
ArtVan expands programs!! With support from a City of Biddeford Community Development Block Grant and the Virginia Hodgkins Somers Foundation, we excitedly expanded our annual summer Biddeford, Bacon Street Neighborhood Program to a full school year program!
ArtVan’s direct service work makes an impact. One recent experience at the Bacon Street Neighborhood illustrates this beautifully. Monday, April 2nd, the Biddeford neighborhood experienced a fire in one of their six-unit buildings that displaced 34 people. ArtVan arrived the next day for its regularly scheduled program. Based on our observations of the youth, it was clear that this art project and theme needed to shift to the focus of safety and security. In addition to the youth attendees, parents and the community connector at the Biddeford Hub also attended.
Adults and youth shared details of the fire, recalling the scary moments of having to evacuate the surrounding buildings. We shifted our check-in to "what do we like that helps us feel safe and comfy?" Using clay, youth made objects that bring them comfort. Some youth collaborated and others worked independently transferring their emotions into the art. What felt frenzied ended with laughter and a calmer atmosphere.
Witnessing this day in the program solidifies ArtVan's important role as an art therapy first responder in our community neighborhoods. Many of our youth are facing challenges everyday, and often in the midst of traumatic situations. ArtVan's consistent, stable presence allows for a trustful space in which youth are encouraged and supported in exploring their feelings using art.
This is the essence and core of the deeper work that ArtVan does. A huge THANK YOU to City of Biddeford & the Virginia Hodgkins Somers Foundation!