Art Just Is.
Barnstone Art for Kids created the Power of Art, a comprehensive, trauma informed program that provides a compassionate mentor and an exciting curriculum, to build self competencies in a safe and supported environment helping kids develop resiliency to mitigate the risks of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). The Power of Art is a year long, trauma informed resiliency program that reinforces our 4 key values:
Building Confidence: We give children the control to take each project in the direction they choose. When a mentor supports a child’s unique vision, (s)he feels confident, empowered, and respected.
Healthy Expression: Barnstone provides fun materials and encourages each child to look at the world in a different light. Children trust they can express themselves without judgment. Kids are allowed to be kids-and have fun being creative.
Nurturing Relationships: While assisting with the creative process, our positive adult role models are attentive, empathetic, and reassuring toward each child and his or her imagination.
Inspiring Passion: We wholeheartedly believe in the old adage “it takes a village.” We invest our energy into building the right environment children need to succeed. By pairing a child and mentor, together, they create positive moments that provide hope and impact a lifetime.
Beyond the Power
While the Power of Art continues to spread positive connections and nurturing relationships throughout the community, a need emerged for those “graduates” who had already matriculated through the program. Hence Beyond the Power was born. Once a month, our “graduates” and their mentors have the opportunity to return to the safety and comfort of Barnstone and reconnect with one another while engaging with art. This program is generally less structured than the Power of Art and focuses more on interaction across the entire group. Beyond the Power meets on the third Thursday of each month.
On the Go
Transportation issues often preclude children from attending programs at our Barnstone facility. The economics of owning a vehicle or inability to drive due to illness, substance abuse or other household dysfunction prove a significant impediment for families of children living with adversity. On the Go brings a condensed version of the Power of Art directly to the children. Programs have been provided at the YMCA, Boys and Girls clubs, Domestic Violence Centers and After School Programs. For the last 2 years, Barnstone Art For Kids has also partnered with PAPA (Phoenixville Area Positive Alternatives) and provides weekly afterschool and summer programs.
Teen Power: Emerging Voices
As requests for teen programs grew, it became necessary to expand on the Power of Art with a new program geared toward older childern. The program specifically considers the developmental tasks of adolescence, and their need to have their own space. Teens are guided through their creative expression with more challenging art projects, listening to music and having more fluid, open discussions with their peers and one-to-one mentors. Like the Power of Art, teens continue with development of communication and social skills, adaptive problem solving, self-awareness, confidence, and healthy self-care in a safe, supportive environment.
Summer Studio Workshop
As with previous “lessons learned”, Barnstone identified a need for programming for kids during the Summer months. Too often, children in our community are left with too few options for meaningful, fun activities. The Summer Studio Workshop is based on the concepts of mindfulness, planning, daily attention to detail, reflection, and personal growth. Participants will commit to a personal project that will require daily work in a creative area of their choosing (painting, poetry, story writing, cartooning, etc.). The program will meet for 6 sessions from the end of June until the end of July. On the evening of the first meeting, the group will come together and discuss their ideas that will be carried out “One Day at a Time”, and our staff and mentors will assist with planning and materials support. The projects will involve engaging in their chosen creative endeavor every day. They will use the materials supplied by Barnstone to draw, paint, write their works. In each of the following weeks, the kids will bring their results back to Barnstone for sharing, discussion, and to create that day’s work.
Barnstone Art for Kids provides vital community resource information and supportive services to our participating families. This can include information on our programs, community resources, educational materials on trauma, or any other useful material related to mental health in our community. Presentations and information are also provided to schools and community organizations. As we continue to grow, Barnstone intends to increase its presence as a resource. Barnstone personnel continue ongoing education in the areas of ACE, trauma, and resilience through attendance at local and regional programming and attending national conferences.