Happy Arts Program
Three Youth Group teens were hosting with me at Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) family shelter and we innocently broke out the boxes of beading supplies in the living room after dinner. First the little girls came over to make simple bracelets. Then, more begrudgingly, the teen boys ambled over. Then came the moms, then the dads. Then: the energy in that space morphed. It wasn’t planned. Families began working together, crafting calm.
They sorted through the letter beads. Parents made bracelets with their child’s name on them. A mother and son made a “best friends” necklace, each with the matching half of a heart charm .. A dad picked out his families initials, a “cool” city teen sat with his mom and picked out all the red beads for a bold necklace.
Calm, creativity, connection. These families were using other parts of their brains for that hour…such a short period of time, many were disappointed when we had to clean up for bedtime. Maybe that time helped spark something more than jewelry design. Maybe ideas bubbled up : solutions for stress, job ideas, a realization that there is a new thing that they’re really good at or that they love.
I spoke to the director of IHN the very next day and proposed a monthly “arts” night for the families of IHN. When the director said “YES!” , I put out one Facebook post and one group email asking for help.
The “Happy Arts” project has now been born. Thank you to the many people, artists, musicians, crafters, and assistants who quickly (practically overnight!) volunteered their skill and time. We currently have a year’s worth of art nights scheduled and visions to possibly work with other families and teens in crisis situations. The idea is to create together…as families, and as peers.
Thanks to all who have said yes to making this a reality. We will transform a space in the shelter to sit and create- to spark those brain neurons- to dream big and to heal. Even if only for a hour, I feel the sparks of creativity will ignite something more.
I especially want to thank Jane Houghton, who was the first artist to throw her hat in the ring , and who also designed the awesome logo for the project! If you are interested in getting involved in any way: as a artist, contributor for supplies, grant writer, anything!! Please contact me! Robin Mitzcavitch , Director, .
It’s fun when the creative juices get flowing!!
Happy Arts Project is connected to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester, 90 Holden St. Worcester and a part of their many outreach ministries.