Joel Heger, a Director at Art Ambassador for a Colorful World, taught art classes to children at The Perkins Summer Camp, a program of The John Perkins Center in Jackson, Mississippi.
“It's always amazing”, recalled Joel after his visit, “to see how children respond when given the opportunity to express themselves through art; depicting their families, friends and communities. I don’t know why I’m so surprised, because whenever we work with a group of youngsters and give them the tools and a little guidance and encouragement, they seem to blossom – with huge smiles across their faces”.
The Center helps students become leaders in the areas of justice, community development, and understanding. The vision of the Center is to see generations of global urban leaders, organizations, and institutions engaging the culture and changing the world by contributing to community health and wholeness.
Art Ambassador for a Colorful World has similar goals, as reflected in our mission statement:
We believe art has the power to change the world. It inspires individuals and brings together entire communities. Art Ambassador helps children and adults express their vision of the world through art. When children draw and paint, a creative spark is ignited. They are able to develop life skills like cooperation, confidence and leadership. Art provides a colorful retreat from everyday life bringing joy and laughter to kids and the communities that delight in them.
The children with whom Joel worked varied in age from 5 to 12 years of age. Joel’s objective was to introduce the children to the idea that art is fun and rewarding in many ways. Joel, too, had fun teaching them the fundamentals of art. The kids were given full rein and, while listening to music, painted portraits of each other, their favorite animals, or whatever they wanted, on paper plates. Joel presented the children with awards in the form of paints, brushes, etc., to grow on. In addition, the kids received a personalized bag of art materials to keep and use whenever they’re inspired.
These disadvantaged youngsters had a chance to have fun and learn. That also goes for Joel as he plans on returning next year.