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Painting a Brighter Future for Youth
20th Year of Voices & Visions is Out of this World
BOSTON — Throughout The Home for Little Wanderers’ three special education schools, teachers like Alex McShane have spent the past year teaching youth about the solar system through creative writing and art. This Thursday marks the 20th year that the creations of young artists in The Home’s care will go on display at the Knight Children’s Center in Jamaica Plain as part of the Voices & Visions project.
Voices & Visions is the culmination of a year-long, innovative arts project. The project strives to teach positive ways of self-expression and encourage children to share their many emotions and a piece of themselves using 3-D art, poems, and stories. Many of the youth who participate in the project have had devastating experiences with abuse and neglect, many struggle with behavioral issues and low self-esteem; and almost all are in emotional turmoil.
“Introducing children to the creative process through art and writing is extremely therapeutic and a valuable tool in the healing process for children who have experienced early traumatic events,” explained McShane, who is the art teacher at the Knight Children’s Center. “By learning how to use different mediums like clay, papier mache and writing, youth can release their emotions into each creation.”
Each year children at The Home play an active role in selecting a theme for the project. This year, through the theme of “Outer Space and Beyond,” McShane says that the children literally take us out of this world with their creations of clay Martians, chalk drawings of the solar system, and three-dimensional space vehicles and an astronaut.
The Voices & Visions exhibition will be on display from May 13 (4 – 7 p.m.) and May 14 (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) at the Knight Children’s Center Gymnasium, 161 South Huntington Avenue, Jamaica Plain and as part of The Home’s Voices & Visions gala on May 26 at the Seaport World Trade Center, 1 Seaport Lane, Boston.
According to Lisa Rowan-Gillis, Vice President of Development and Public Relations, The Home for Little Wanderers, “Voices & Visions has come a long way in its 20-year history. The project was originally created as just a small display of artwork by the young residents our Knight Children’s Center in Jamaica Plain before it evolved into a donor appreciation event and then into our signature fundraiser.”
It is a tradition for guests of Voices & Visions to leave comments in books provided alongside pieces of artwork. “The children value the feedback of their artwork and it helps to reinforce their efforts and enhance their self-esteem,” she said. “The Voices & Visions project is helping us paint a brighter for these youth.”
About Voices & Visions