exploring creativity through art at YONA

Every Thursday, I visit the YONA program for a period of time set aside to focus on the imagination. We play with art without necessarily having a set goal of what the end product will look like. Free expression is encouraged by the knowledge that – whether we’re composing a piece, making up a story or filling a page with colour – the work will not be graded or critiqued afterwards.

I am a graduate student, working towards a Master’s degree in Expressive Arts Therapy, and I am thrilled to be doing my practicum with YONA this year.

Our current project centers on Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. One of the pieces the students are learning to play on their violins is Ode to Joy, and so we are becoming familiar with the entire symphony through creative listening activities. Our primary medium for this project is oil pastels. I love to see the kids drawing with both hands, with their eyes closed, blending the pastels with their fingers – getting their whole bodies involved!

Now we are moving towards collaborative work, by bringing everyone’s separate expressions together to create something bigger. The first step was making a mosaic circle; each student as well as the Teaching Artists coloured in one paper puzzle-piece as a response to the third movement of the Beethoven symphony. When everyone was finished we put all the pieces together to see that they made a circle.

All of our drawing activities have been building up to the symphony’s finale. For that we will incorporate the theme of joy, through larger drawings made over a longer period of time. I can’t wait to see what the kids end up creating!

My hope is that through this work the children will have an increased freedom to imagine and create. And that they will be more sensitive to beauty.

post and photos by Sandi Campbell

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