Expressive Arts: Murals
”We are made of bone and flesh and story”
— “ Janna,” Naomi Shihab Nye
Shaping our Environment: Creating Refuge through Collaborative Art
Art can help us reimagine the spaces we inhabit and the settings in which we spend time. I worked with women seeking asylum to transform a makeshift dwelling into a place of refuge in which they could congregate, share stories and relax. For over two decades, I have worked with youth, transforming school sites and developing community through colorful murals and creative engagement. Art strengthens us by giving our aspirations a voice.
Methodology for Community Engagement
- Grounding activities and breath work
- Form a tight knit “group container”
- Collective envisioning process
- Invite improvisation as part of the painting process
- Honor boundaries
- Provide leadership roles
Women’s Mural Project
- How do you want the room to feel?
- Can you imagine colors? How do those colors feel in your body? Will they help you relax here?
- How would it feel if you expand your image outside the boundaries? What sensations would that create?
- What is the woman in your painting dreaming of?
- How do we know? Can you magnify the patterns, colors, designs and shapes?