"Art relief" workshops are alternative art therapy + art education sessions led by creative facilitators and designed based on a specific marginalized community's needs and interests. I designed most of these workshops, and the standard for them, as the manager of mentor to international volunteers of Art Relief International (ARI). I originated multiple lesson plans a week, with input from the international volunteers--who came from all over the world to work with ARI. In planning, generally, those volunteers would spark the idea behind each workshop ,based on our working relationships with each marginalized community groups (40 total), and I would co-develop the workshop idea until it fit our very high workshop standard; we aimed to best serve each group with as meaningful of a learning experience as possible. 

My goal will always be to see how each group grows via regular, artistic activity. Especially, since I have seen in Thailand how it can lead to groups creating their own income-generating projects, activist social interventions, raising awareness for their community, host exhibitions of their work to fundraise on their behalf, and to marketing their own merchandise.

To showcase some of the most successful lesson plans, as each workshop requires a plan, assessment, and personal reflection, below I am including the material from the personal reflections. This is usually created to expose international viewers to the ins and outs of this sensitive, intercultural work via a blog platform. These reflections are housed on the ARI blog--please visit it at:   art-relief.blogspot.com
The Arts-based English Camp
 at Wat Ku Kam Municipality School with the American International School of Dubai
For the first time--as long as we can remember--Art Relief International held its largest event! On February 21st, 2017, ARI delivered an all-day, arts-based English Camp for the lovely staff and students at the Wat Ku Kum Municipality School, in Chiang Mai. There were over 200 students that participated! Of course, this camp wouldn't have been possible without additional support: visiting students and staff from the American International School of Dubai, who worked as our teachers in each station of the camp's activities. 
For a summary of the day, please watch the video.

In the beginning of the camp, everyone was welcomed warmly and brought in front of the whole school to introduce themselves. The principal opened the camp with a beautiful speech. 

ARI explained the day's activities, and how original this work was for ARI.

Everyone was so excited for the event that the teachers asked the students to present traditional Thai dances for ARI and the visiting school. 

The day became a true cultural exchange of language arts and performing arts. 

First, the camp started with a warm-up dance to the "Cupid Shuffle," which we like to use when relating activities to English, as the song has a lot of good directionals for dancers/learners to follow ("To the left, to the right, now kick, now walk it by yourself"). The AIS of Dubai students demonstrated, bravely, on stage, and the whole school danced along!

Then, the whole school worked to build small notebooks where they could capture the vocabulary they would learn during the camp. We used a simple fold and staple technique, and then everyone decorated their notebooks with drawings and words about the seasons. The AIS of Dubai students helped each student to feel comfortable saying the English names of the seasons (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer), and to copy symbols of each season into their notebook (flowers for spring, fallen leaves for autumn), so that they would remember the associations. 

Then, the whole school worked together on an animal story. Meaning, our brave demonstrators from AIS of Dubai went on stage to make the corresponding animal noise each time an animal name in English was mentioned in the story! An adorable volunteer from the student audience came up to make her own animal sound too, for the whole school to guess. This was courageous of her! Her animal noise definitely sounded like a bird, but the whole school was stumped guessing! But, it was a chicken!

After lunch, we began our main event: the rotating stations led by the AISD student teachers! 

Each station rotated and repeated, and revolved around 4 main subjects of English vocabulary: Numbers, Vowels, Colors, and Body Parts. 

For learning the numbers, the AISD students taught via lessons involving movement games--tossing, catching, and running to numbers associated with colors. 

Body parts: the AISD students built the necessary English alphabet letters with clay to spell each body part ("leg," "ear", etc.) They also played matching games, and sang "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.

Colors: coloring pages designed to be "color-by-words" were used, and movement/association games were played. 

Lastly, for learning vowels: pictionary and matching games were used. 

In each of the stations, the students from the American International School of Dubai taught as peer educators, and truly worked alongside their Thai peers to learn as much of the English material as possible.

At the end of the day, the WKK school was so pleased with our work that each teacher received a gift memorializing King Rama IX. This was very touching for everyone. 

One of our newest volunteers--whose first day was on the English Camp--thought, "The visiting student teachers were really motivated and excellent teachers." 

And our other, brand new volunteer day that said: "It was a crazy and enjoyable day. It was really impressive to see the kids copy down vocabulary even when we didn't instruct them to. We could tell they were eager to learn."

We really are grateful for the hard work of our new ARI volunteers and the AISD students and staff. We look forward to running more English Camps and offering alternative education to local students via the arts!

Creating an original Coloring Book with Burmese migrant students 

"Yesterday, at Thai Freedom House, we started creating a coloring book! We have been inspired by the massive world trend of adult-level coloring books and want to help Thai Freedom House generate income with a project they have been wanting to create for a while. We conceived of this project with the direction of the Thai Freedom House founder, and are projecting a theme of "Freedom On My Mind" for this project. When people color in the final book, we want people to be able to relax and escape through coloring.

First, we had to finally vote on the title and cover design for our "Where I Am Now" zine, which we have spent the past 5 weeks working on. Everyone voted for the numbered title design and cover design they liked best. Everyone was very diplomatic and there were no hurt feelings when their design didn't win.

To start creating the pages and content for the coloring book, we needed to start learning some key aspects of visual language. We went through a drawing/line exploration exercise, where students had to fill boxes with lines, squares, circles, and triangles in different amount: 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32. The design elements had fit inside the small templates and meet the required number, to exercise the SPACE that needs to be around each line/object. The most important part of a coloring book is having the space to color.

We wanted the kids to move away from scribbling and using tone when drawing, because the coloring book needs only graphic lines to make an image. We will work up to what each person's page will hold--What image? What message? etc., next week. We're looking forward to making this second publication with TFH, and to mass printing our zine from the previous weeks soon!

Look out for both publications in the TFH Free Bird Cafe shop, and on the TFH and ARI blogs and websites. Please stay tuned!



art-relief.blogspot.com "

Thinking in Black and White

This lesson plan focuses on black and white media, like monochromatic paintings or newspapers to explore Tone, Value, and Contrast--before working with Color. The plan calls for participants to work from the influences of the text and imagery of the news content in a collage-like way to form a picture, and compliment that picture further with monochromatic paint. 
Fibers and Fabric

This lesson plan for Fibers and Fabrics activities focuses on the interdisciplinary function of the Line, by looking at an artist who makes the most of the Line in their fiber arts and painting. This plan calls for participants to make portraits or self-portraits with colored fibers in styrofoam plates, then translate that image into a representational painting that attempts to capture every line made with fibers. 
Colombia/Thailand Comparison Picture

This lesson plan focuses on how many countries have similar features, making participants able to relate to other cultures and peoples. For example, from my time in Thailand, I realized certain animals, commodities, and aspects of the landscape are similar to where I have lived in Colombia. 
Reactionary Mandala
Here are pictures of the Reactionary Mandala activity that I facilitated in a workshop for the Creativity and Change program at Cork Institute of Technology/ Crawford College of Art and Design. This activity was included in the workshop proposal for empirical research. 
Here is a general outline of the workshop, proposed to gather empirical research for my dissertation on the MA of Creative Process at Uversity in Ireland. My questions looked into the Creative Processes of Irish Primary Year Educators and their connection to their own senses of creativity. My goal was to gauge how their connections to creativity affected the success of their students' developing creativity. The workshop was delivered on short notice and did not follow through due to lack of attendance, but elements of the proposed workshop were involved at institutional level at the L. Glucksman Gallery in Cork in their "Spark of Creativity" workshop for educators, allowing me to gather and complete my research there. 
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