Designed to allow individuals who feel like an outsider create works of art which allow them to make sense of what is happening or has happened to them. Children particularly are not given the chance to find solutions to their own problems. The art room is the perfect opportunity for them to do so.
Through the outsider art process the individual learns how to transform assumptions about who they were told they are by engaging society as an artist. Practice, study, and discipline are ingrained into the individuals personal vision. The accomplishment of crafting a physical artistic piece out of ones dream fosters confidence and lifts the individual over the limitation of doubt.
Our Artists communicate through comparative information. The artistic pieces they create are bursting with real life experience, emotion, stories, information, the essence of reality. In learning how to express their inner voice, their self within their community the uniqueness of character which often alienates the individual in school or society now strengthens ones character through the returns art exhibitions provide.
Disability is Ability
Students learn the strange paradox of discipline and freedom, and are shown how a mixture of physical and creative discipline can manage disease. All the pain, madness, pleasures, humiliations, strange encounters, devastating experiences students had immersed in life find form in their artistic process.
It is our belief that through the exploration of trauma one can uncover a deep reverence for life, sensitivity, and an awareness of the horrors and the beauty of this world.
Art practices such as animation, drawing, puppet making, and theatre are thought of as a language exchange. Our students are encouraged to speak their “everyday language” and apply it to the elasticity of artistic expression. By using the educators experience as a guide rather then an authority we mimic the structure of society in the classroom (punctuality, deadlines) yet modify it simply by being honest.
Discussion forums are set up within the classroom and through social media networks where students research, learn about the modern art system. Then brainstorm how to take their creativity into all areas of life.
I understood that those of us, who have had extreme experiences with pain, trauma, deteriorating health, and by some kind of magic are given the ability to translate the images of hope that manifest during extreme events in our lives. That these people, call them outsiders if you will, have an integral part to play in building a bridge between science and art. Health and Illness.
Outsider Art is not simply a shelter for deranged personalities. The outsider artist has a mastery of the imagination. Wherein the outsider develops the ability to investigate the source of illness in the individual, community, or civilization as a whole. The image is then extracted and transcribed on a physical medium by reliving the individuals experience with pain and trauma sometimes for days, weeks, in my case even a year, possessed by the image. It is the pull of the inner self which leads the artist into a highly specific, special category of altered state where trauma becomes the vehicle to a higher plane of consciousness.
THE OUTSIDER ART PROGRAM exists to GUIDE people with health issues be it Mind or Body the opportunity to express their health experience through the creation of art. Additionally, we provide artists the opportunity to earn income from the sale of their artwork and to pursue a livelihood as a visual artist through yearly outsider art exhibitions.
A key focus of the outsider art program is to support those in their healing process by offering mentorship, space, artistic education and the knowhow for those who wish to become self-employed artists in creating and operating a successful future out of what has been considered a debilitating traumatic experience.
Do to the lack of resources, high student/teacher ratio, teachers do not have the time or energy to give students the extra attention necessary to guide them toward solutions. The programs I created fill that gap and work as a bridge between, teacher, parent, school, and community.
The next logical step is to bring the success of our programs into a facilitator role which has a greater reach to businesses, community organizations, and young entrepreneurs around the world. Our ambition is to instill in the education programs we provide businesses the need for the development of work which is dignified, which is hard and exacting, which is at the same time rewarding to the person who does it and the community around him.
We believe each time a person stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
In short our programs are created to engender hope in the hopeless, courage in the fearful, distinctiveness in uniformity, and to transform adversity into a well of strength one can draw from throughout their lifetime.
Imagination therapy was created out of the fear that children were losing their power to imagine.
The objective in a classroom or community is to make young people aware of the challenges we face in the world. One imaganation can inspire another. By crafting lessons out of reality the power of a students imagination can find solutions that can shift the negative energies of society through the inherent curiosity of a child.
A class began's by asking the students what is “imagination”? The responses
are as abstract as the term itself. One boy who was shaking his hand wildly in the air exclaimed
“it’s a vehicle to far and distant universes”.
The answers spoken by a child's imagination are always beyond what we can imagine.
Students fall into the giant white sheets of paper, creating intricate stories, moving from one side of the class to the other, working together. The boys in particular tend to create a multi-layered storyline which they narrate to one another while drawing.
The imagination portal trick is a “doorway to mysterious lands”.
The students close their eyes and scribble on a piece of paper
for thirty seconds and extract what they see within the scribbling.
As soon as the students are warmed up and set free, any barrier
between their imagination and the paper breaks down.
They can rekindle any adults hope for humanity.
(and that is the goal)