Nine artists, all students from AK Child & Family Community Programs, committed to sharing their talents for five weeks in order to create a gift for Community Programs. The time they spent together was focused on teambuilding, self reflection, and strength discovery. They were asked, “Why do you want to be a part of this project?” Some of their answers were: “I can paint my words,” “Art has been close to me my whole life,” “I want to do something great,” “I was bored and this was something to do,” and, “I love what I can do and I want to share this with others.”
Brainstorming ideas for the wall.
The artists compiled their ideas and created an initial sketch. The image was then transferred to the wall. By the second week the group of artists had created a base layer.
Making progress on the base layer.
The young artists engaged in a discussion surrounding the concept of peace. All youth served by Community Programs were encouraged to share their ideas. They were asked what peace meant to them. Peace meant many different things and a very long list was generated. Some of their ideas were: “Peace is wholeness,” “Hope,” “Love,” “Peace is being accepted for who you are no matter what,” “Mountains with fresh air,” “No drugs and alcohol,” “A non-violent place,” “Peace is individualistic. What is great for some might be terrible for others,” “Peace should incorporate all belief systems,” “Respectful people,” “People who want to help each other,” “Close knit families,” “Sunshine,” “Harmony,” “Good choices,” “Cookies,” and “My mom means peace to me.”
The artists painted a compilation of ideas for a complicated concept. They worked hard together. They played together. They got creative with the materials and made new friends. They remembered the important things in life, like relaxing and having fun. After five weeks together the group has come to a close. In closing, an important question for all of us to ponder no matter our age, “What kind of life will I create for myself?”