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Experimenting with Materials at Braun High School

Mentor Artist Marty Meade worked again with the students of Braun Day Treatment to create expressive and unique works of art. (it’s her tenth year with YIA!) From Marty:

Braun High School is a Special Needs school for young people with emotional problems, supported with a clinical team.

I am just finishing another ‘blessed’ year with these students providing them a creative outlet to express their feelings, to explore something new, and to just have fun.  Besides offering a visual arts experience, I am also certified in Expressive Arts Therapy.

Students were able to explore acrylic paintings on canvas, watercolors and pastels.  Fused glass, and decorating sugar skulls. Each week they join me with enthusiasm and “what are we doing today, Marty”.  I have many who are reluctant to participate for fear of failure, but because of the variety of materials they slowly begin to participate.  Glass art is always a mystery, as they have no control over the finished piece.  Sugar skulls are just plain fun, as they are working with bright colored icings, and sugar.

The environment provides a safe place for these kids, but it takes patience as you plow through their resistance.  After a year of absolutely not wanting to participate, X, a beautiful young woman began to open up and express her feelings.   She was given a pumpkin shape, and I asked her to write some poetry… when she handed the finished piece to me there was a look of anxiety in her face.  When I read her words, I held back the tears, as she began to express sexual abuse at an early age.

A clinical staff person was with me, and we were able to work together as we sat with her privately.  I expressed how it made me feel, that she did not deserve this and that we were there for her. The following week, she returned to the classroom, but asked if she could just write, but stay in the classroom.  (That was fine with me).

I am grateful for Youth in Arts as they first provided my services to this school.   Additional funding is coming in to continue this weekly class, but one hour a week for art is still not enough.

Arts Unite Us is Youth in Arts program tailored for students in school with special needs. Youth in Arts is the only consistent provider of arts for special education programs in Marin.

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Thank you to the Buck Family Fund of the Marin Community Foundation for supporting this program.

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