A Year of Art Enrichment in Detroit!

by Mandisa Smith on November 14, 2022
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Hope for Flowers Art Enrichment Programming for youth and adults and community workshops focused on sustainability reached its one-year milestone this October! 

Art classes for youth and adults are conducted in 4 and 8 week sessions.  Community sustainability workshops are offered throughout the year, usually on Saturdays to accommodate families. Our programs are free of charge and offered exclusively to Detroit residents and youth who attend Detroit Public and Charter Schools.

Mandisa Smith, a well-known Detroit-based fiber artist and our beloved Art Enrichment Director shares some insights into our first year of programming:

 

Youth Art Enrichment

In the youth art enrichment program, we are teaching children ages 7 to 12 basic art techniques and concepts including the color wheel, the use of lines, patterns, and shapes, and more. In our current classes, the children are creating artwork that is specifically related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We reinforce the importance of reusing materials, encouraging them to be conservative in their use of art supplies so that they're not wasting anything. We try to impress upon them how important it is for us to take care of the Earth by taking care of all the resources that we have. 

 

 

 

 

 

"With children, we reinforce the importance of reusing materials, as well as being  conservative  in their use of  art supplies so  that they're not wasting  anything."

 

 

A youth art participant creating with recycled cardboard

 Another important part of the youth program is that every week we discuss a spotlight artist of color. We show students pictures of the artist and their work and relate that to the project we are working on. We tell them about the artist’s life and hope to inspire them to embrace their own inner artist. We want the children to know that being an artist is within their reach if it’s something they aspire to.

Youth art participants showing finished artwork

We are fortunate to have Taylor Childs as our instructor. She is a graduate of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, an experienced art teacher, and she is currently pursuing her Master's in Fine Art at the esteemed Cranbrook Academy of Art. 



Teaching artist Taylor Childs with youth participants

Adult Art Enrichment 

In our adult art enrichment program this year, we’ve explored a variety of art techniques, skills, and projects, including weaving, acrylic painting, watercolor painting, printmaking, textile art, journal making, and more. One of the consistent feedback comments we get at the end of every adult class is that the teacher was excellent. It's not just that they are teaching an artistic skill, but they're doing so in a very caring and loving way. Teaching artists Kim Harden, LaVern Homan-Williams, Ron Watters, Joye Ofei, and Nawili G. will all be back for new sessions.

 

 

 
"We've had adults ages 18 thru 90 participating and it's great to see people creatively express themselves no matter how young or old they might be."
 

Memory Boxes with teaching artist LaVern Homan-Williams - October

 

 Everyone is excited to be here and to create with each other. The adults have embraced creating art using materials that would otherwise be discarded, such as fabric scraps, old magazine pages, broken jewelry, and various other items.

 
Screen-printing with teaching artist Ron Watters - June

Community Workshops

Our community sustainability programming is geared towards actionable steps participants can incorporate into their lifestyles. Our past workshops have consisted of learning how to compost. In this workshop Ricky Blanding of Scrap Soils taught participants how to build their own worm bins to use at home! Green Living Science presented recycling information with sign-ups for free recycling bins. We also taught a mending workshop with our own HFF team members  Ari Harris and Holly Hartter, providing instructions on basic sewing techniques to make small repairs and extend the life of our clothing and cut down on textile waste. Our goal is to raise participants' awareness of how we can all live our lives in a more sustainable way and how we can share this information with our friends and families. We are living our lives with the knowledge that in order for future generations to thrive, we have to take care of the Earth.

 

 

"Our goal is to raise participants' awareness of how we can all live our lives in a more sustainable way and how we can share this information with our friends and families."

 

Participants at our Composting and Mending Community Workshops -July/September

 

The most rewarding part of the program for me is just seeing the joy that art-making brings to people, both children, and adults.  Art is so freeing, it is the essence of freedom in my mind. Being able to express yourself and your own creativity - it's just pure joy! It's inspiring to me, especially in a group setting... there is an energy that lifts everyone. When you create something and you find it beautiful, you're proud of it, and it makes your heart sing!


Next year, our goal is to expand our offering of community sustainability workshops and explore new ways of reaching potential participants for all of our classes and workshops. I'm looking forward to a really great 2023 with Hope for Flowers enrichment program!

Mandisa Smith- Hope for Flowers Art Enrichment Director
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