This Art Therapy thing. I’m going to keep banging on about it for a little bit. Mainly because I just keep getting SO MANY students parents/guardians telling me how different their mini-artist is since they started doing weekly art lessons.
There’s so many benefits from art therapy – the stress relief, the lateral cognitive development, the fine motor skills exercising – but (I think) more important than all those reasons, is the confidence that students gain by exploring the thoughts that they may not have the words to express.
In my studio I watch shy children, turn into young artists with a voice.
I watch how they grow from trying to “blend in” with the motley group that frequents my studio, to realising there are so many different characters that they couldn’t blend in, no matter how hard they try, so they start beaming their own unique little (and sometimes big) personality through the already character-cluttered studio.
I watch as the parts of them they choose to show turn from “I’m too cool for that” to “watch this really silly thing I can do.” I hear them as they proclaim to the class that they are “oddball” and “not like everyone else” and then I watch them make friends with other self proclaimed weirdos, and in finding a place where no one is cool, they find a space to be authentic with themselves.
I think at least half of my students have at some point told me they aren’t like anyone else. Whether this is born from their own ability to see their uniqueness, or their parents encouragement to be themselves without defaulting to mimicking the social norms – it doesn’t matter. What matters to these kids is that they congregate with likeminds. That gives them a kind of confidence to be who they are in the studio, and gives them the confidence to face the world outside of the studio.
In my studio I see young artists turn their newfound skills into confidence, and surely that confidence they carry has the best therapeutic value of all.
So go ahead and put a paintbrush in your mini-artists hand. Give them a space to be messy. Give them a challenge to complete. Give them the opportunity to develop the express themselves freely – and if possible do it with others.
If you’re on facebook feel free to share your mini-artists work on the Artlis Studios page or join our Kids Art Sharing Group to connect with other guardians of creative mini’s. We love to see your work!!