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YMCA Family Services Intensive Therapeutic Foster Youth and TS Art Group

I believe expressive art groups provide children and adolescents with a safe and nurturing environment in which they can become more aware of their thoughts, feelings and experiences through the wonderment of making art. During the start of each art group session, we discuss art... what it means to them... how it feels... how it speaks... what it says... why it is important... how it heals... and how it allows our value, meaning and truth to come out... how art reminds us of our individual freedom and right to life... to experience and express... to honor our intuition and inner significance. The youth who participate in the weekly expressive art groups were given the opportunity to display or sell their pieces at the YMCA Triangle Gallery Art Show. Much dialogue and appreciation ensued at this event...



Group projects from left: "Tree People", "My Family", "Big Fish City", "Favorite Place", "Hope" and "Red Ocean"

Art Medium: Large canvas and acrylic


"Rock Faces" Group project- Acrylic, watercolor and ink on handpicked neighborhood rocks...


"Secret Pocket Boxes" and "Wish Box" Group projects - Watercolor, acryliic and ink on cardstock


Titles from left: "Ancestor", "The Wall", "Feeling Blue", "Confusing Roads" and "Art Heals Deep"

Media: watercolor on 18x24 quality paper


Titles from left: "She Could Not Be Reached", "The Alien", "Mom", "Happy Swirls", "How I feel", "The Garden", "Windy Roads"

Media: watercolor on 18x24 quality paper


"A Magic Flower" - Acrylic and clay on canvas (18 year old foster youth)


"Seemingly Disorganized" - Mixed media collage on paper (15 year old foster youth)

"Feeling Storm" - Large watercolor on poster board (12 year old foster youth)

"Healing Sun" - Large acrylic painting - (Staff and foster youth group)

"Dancing Flower" - Greeting Card - (Staff demonstration of watercolor)


"From Where I Sit"- Acrylic on wood (10 and 16 year old foster youth)


Expressive Art Group photos

YMCA Triangle Gallery Show of Expresive Art Group collection - Honoring the youth and handing out gift backs full of art supplies to each young artist who participated in the Expressive Art Group.

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The "Warrior" Sculpture Group Exercise

The "Warrior": Thoughts and feelings were expressed on color strips of paper and attached with tape to a chickenwire sculpture by children of all ages -- to describe their thoughts and feelings when they feel protective or threatened in some way. Outside words represented "what the world sees..." and inside words reflected "inner thoughts and feelings that are hidden and protected" (e.g., fears, sadness, hurt and pain from abandonment, wishes, hopes, desires and longings).

An 8 year old boy decided to make a 3-dimensional heart which he suspended with colored ribbon inside of the chest cavity of the Warrior because "it needed a heart to feel and be real." Amazing.


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Pilchuck Glass School Workshop: Glass Houses with Therman Statom

During individual therapy, one of the foster youth I was working with made a statement that "artists and professionals in the community don't care about us." We were discussing the possibility of organizing a collaborative art project or event. This particular youth had a great interest to try glassblowing. I contacted some folks at Pilchuck Glass School and asked if they would be interested in working with a group of Intensive Therapeutic Foster Youth. They loved the idea, and Thurman offered to host the day and lead a group process around making "glass houses." The experience was extraordinary. A total of 12 youth attended the event and were allowed to roll and blow hot glass and participate in ways no one had imagined.

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"Morning's On time" - Large Acrylic on Canvas (1st Place Award at SCCC, CA 1994)


"Il Facinio Di Roma", 1996 - Large Acrylic on Canvas

"Firenze in the Afternoon", 2004 - Acrylic on Canvas


"Path to Peace", 2002 - Large Acrylic on Canvas


"Chestnut Street Cafe", 2000 - Large Acrylic on Canvas


"Ocean Symphony" - Large Acrylic/Collage on Canvas