The reason we love art is that it’s a lens into a new perspective. It is an invitation for viewers to reframe their ideas through the work of the artist. Our children use art as a chance to showcase their voices through the clouds of suppressive environments.
Art demands viewers drop their conceptions of what is possible and look at something new. In recognition of this capacity, we took a moment for our children to illustrate the pandemic through their position.
The connections they described have become even more evident through the struggles of this moment. As our team has continued to work toward our mission of uplifting children experiencing homelessness, we have taken a step back to reframe the challenges of this pandemic.
Through our children's viewpoint, we were reminded that no matter the extraordinary struggle we face, art can be a stepping stone to the future.
Our founder, Jennie Lobato, took a moment to sit down with the children and asked them why drawchange was important to them. In their answers, she found drawchange described in a new focus. It's more than just an afterschool program for them; it's a lifeline that inspires them to challenge the surrounding norms and rewrite the stories of their lives.
Jennie: What does drawchange mean to you?
Child 1: I get to experience the art ideas inside me that I didn't know were there. I get to get out of the house and experience.
Throughout the COVID epidemic, our children have been experiencing a restriction of movement at their shelters to fight the virus's spread. While effective to keep them safe, this precaution has taken a mental toll as they get closer to almost a year of upholding the safety measure. As we have transitioned our program back to the shelter, drawchange has become their outlet to explore their fascinations and create.
Child 2: I get to express my feelings when I'm feeling black or emo; when I come here, I get to express my color feelings on a sheet of paper.
Our programs’ approach focuses on 7 Core Competencies. One of these competencies is Dream-Building. We strive to help build a sense of wonder that excites our children to learn and reach their dreams.
This interview reminded the drawchange family that these children are our reason for action. Providing these opportunities for children facing overwhelming challenges allows them to express their emotions and channel their efforts toward a future of their design rather than pinned by circumstance. We are inspired by their resilience and excited to continue to create opportunities to help these children strive towards the hope of a tomorrow they choose.