Culture for One ART Workshop Series
Culture For One transforms the lives of New York City children in foster care through the power of the arts. C.F.O provides opportunities to inspire their creativity, stimulate their intellect, and introduce them to broader possibilities for their future.
Through exposure to the arts and positive role models, C.F.O helps these most at-risk youth build confidence, acquire life skills, and identify new interests, as well as improve their academic performance. Culture For One’s programs deliver sources of motivation that these young people need to thrive … not just survive. To date, C.F.O has provided 6,000 children and teens with small group and individual arts opportunities!
I lead a series of art workshops at the Fashion Institute of Technology, bringing together students from Art/Design and Business/Technology! We had a heartwarming and gratifying experience collaborating with Culture for One. Each workshop stood on its own as a successful experience. It was encouraging to see how each child/teen positivity progressed from one workshop to the next.
What made this project partnership successful was the collaborative dedication and efforts from Susan Kasarsky, CFO’s Program Director, CFO’s art therapists, volunteers, as well as FIT’s department of Student life and FIT’s student volunteers! Thank you everyone who made this possible!
The group consisted of 10 young women, ages 13-17, from the Good Shepherd Restart Academy. FIT student volunteers & CFO volunteers helped each youth create a vision board. In guiding these teens, we discussed how focusing on images of what you want can move you towards reaching your goals. I told the students to place the vision board next to their bed so when they awake, the vision board stares back at them and reminds them to never give up!
The vision board can be used to visualize a professional future and identify personal aspirations. We hope that this project enabled these teens to become more conscious of their aspirations and provided them with a starting point for a vision for their future.. The girls commented that the experience was very therapeutic and that they are looking forward to taking the boards with them and evolving their visions over time!
What's your super power?
This activity was about empowerment, overcoming obstacles, extracting the individual’s strengths, and creating a personal super hero T shirt, which in essence, reflects their best self. For this activity, the kids designed their own T shirts, using fabric, paints and markers. We began with a warm up exercise –writing down what they loved about themselves. The children used the art supplies to illustrate the words and translate them into pictures or a logo/icon. While they worked on the project, I recommended that whenever they are feeling unsure of themselves, they should put on their SUPER POWER T SHIRT to power through the rest of the day. The experience had by all was a success!
FIT student volunteers traveled to Queens, NY, to the Forestdale Saturday Mentoring Program, for a follow-up workshop on with many of the same young people who created the tee-shirts a few weeks prior. For this project, we created dreamcatchers. Based on the Legend of the Dream Catcher, the Ojibwa (Chippewa) Indians believe that night is full of dreams. When a dream catcher is hung above the place where you sleep it moves freely in the night air and catches the dreams as they drift by.
We asked each child to sketch their hopes and aspiration for their future in the center of the dreamcatcher. They were instructed to write practical steps on how to move closer to their goals, around the periphery of the dream catcher. It became evident that the kids really understood what we were trying to do.