RE-create Outreach Art Studio, a program of Shalem, is passionate about delving deep into the areas of artistic expression that our youth find most captivating, and helping them explore these areas fully. In the past year, we have noticed that many of our youth gravitate towards using artistic journaling practices to express themselves, and to process whatever challenges they are facing.
Art journaling is a form of art that is a mixture of written journaling, scrapbooking and visual expression through media like collage and paint. This movement started when one of our volunteers, a visual arts student at Redeemer, used this art form to process her own life, and showed her art journal to one of the RE-create youth artists. This youth then picked up the idea, and has since filled over ten of these small journals with his thoughts and feelings. Other youth started to notice, and requested that RE-create buy a stack of the hardcover journals so they could also try this new kind of art-making.
We were so encouraged that our youth wanted to use this visual and written method to process their life challenges that we decided to apply for a grant that would let them explore art journaling more fully. The Hamilton Community Foundation funded our request to run a twelve-week art journaling class, which we started in September 2016. The class, led by art therapist Karen Campbell, provides the chance for participating youth to try all kinds of artistic expression in their journals. The class also offers fun new art supplies and new methods to try, encouragement from volunteers and peers, and lots of delicious snacks!
The pages that are being created in this class are amazing. Youth take the time at the end of each class to share their creations with others and offer feedback on their respective pages. Deep emotions and experiences are being explored through this medium, and we hope the youth will then take these journals out into the world and encourage their peers to try out art journaling as a coping technique and mode of expression.
At the end of the class we will be scanning select pages from these amazing art journals and putting up an exhibition of the work at 541 Eatery and Exchange in Hamilton. The works will be hanging from the beginning of February until the end of March. Head over to the café if you have a chance, and maybe you will also be inspired to try art journaling!
Meghan Schuurman is the Studio Coordinator for RE-create Outreach Art Studio.