Keely Marie Scott » Travel photography & design with a little taste of Texas

Art Heals. . .

“Art is a wound turned into light.”
Georges Braque, artist

Over the past few years I have developed a passion for art therapy. I am not a therapist nor am I looking at going back to school to become one.
But I have a love for art and how it can heal people,
specifically children and even more specifically,
children in poverty.

According to the American Art Therapy Association, “Art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process of art is both life-enhancing and healing. It uses the creative process as a means to cope with stress, work through traumatic experiences, have better relationships, and to be able to enjoy the life affirming pleasures of the creative experience.”

Having traveled with Compassion for the last few years I have been able to see the need for art, what happens and could happen when kids are able to create. Whether that is through paintings, drawings, drama, music or writing. The process of creating, in my opinion, teaches confidence and encourages one’s self esteem.

At most Compassion projects I visit my camera intrigues the kids, but there is always one child that follows me around attached to my side wanting to hold and just stare at the camera. Not because they want to see themselves on the screen but because they want to see how it works. They want to take the photo and see the result of their “eye” on the screen. I used to question this idea, but I have experienced too many moments like this:

I have started letting kids take pictures with my camera.
Here is one of my favorites

taken by David in Mexico

I have heard stories of how an “Art” has been healing or has been cathartic for children at various projects, but I finally witnessed it first hand on a trip I took to Mexico City in October with Spence and Vicky.We walked up to this project and the first thing I noticed was the stain glass window

then the doors. . .

the landscape . . .

then they had a photographer as a staff member for their church. . . WHAT! I couldn’t believe it.

The Pastor and his Wife, who were two of the neatest people I have ever met, took us on a tour of their church. As we walked up the stairs we all were admiring the doors, the pastor told us he goes into Mexico City and finds them (they were all over and some were 300 years old!) he then restores them if its needed, it is his craft. He uses them as doors, as tables and as artwork. He and his Wife live on the property (above the church) and he was kind enough to show us their home. I remember walking inside and feeling inspired. . . .these were artists! There were beautiful canvas’ (painted by his wife) covering the brightly painted walls and there were lamps that he made out of old sewing machines

The last room we saw was his wife’s art studio . . . 

it was their retreat!
The list could go on. But to get back on track, we continued the tour to go and see some of the kids classrooms and my favorite room was this one:

An art studio for the children of that project!! In that room every child has their own easel, and the means to paper and materials. As we spent time looking through each of the kids drawing books and watercolors the Pastor’s Wife explained how healing art has been for some of their children. She told us about one little girl whose paintings were dark both in color and in subject when she first joined the program. She noticed that something was not right with this little girls painting so they sought the advice of a therapist who was able to visit their church and meet with this little girl. They discovered that she had been abused at home. They were able to counsel her and work with her through that traumatic time and be there for her. They were able to discover this because of her paintings, because in her art she expressed pain. Thanks to an amazing artist & woman of God who is paying attention and sees the need for creating. The Pastor’s Wife later showed us paintings done today by that same little girl and they were full of lively colors and images of flowers and fields.
That is proof that Art is Therapy and that it can Heal!
Be sure to go and check out other posts on art and culture here!

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