What’s Your Story?

A recurring theme we noticed this week was collaboration; here are some stories and musings on the topic!

Collaboration is a key component of ArtVan’s programs, and it manifests within the art-making process in many different forms: collaboration between youth, collaboration between facilitators, and collaboration between youth and facilitators. This week, youth artists were invited to create storyboards, responding to the theme: “What’s your story?”

During this week’s programs, Julianna encouraged collaboration by asking the youth what she should draw on her storyboard during the demo at the beginning of each session. She began the first project demo by shading with a red colored pencil, “What does this look like?” she asked as she demonstrated how to use the materials. “It looks like Mars!” one of the kids responded. “Okay, this is the surface of Mars. What happens next?” Another youth answered, “You’re walking on Mars!” This form of collaborative demonstration was used throughout the week, engaging the youth to pay attention to the instructions on how to use the project materials, while also inviting their creativity and imagination as they prepared to create their own storyboards.

Julianna’s storyboard, created over the course of the week with input from ArtVan youth:

Collaborative art-making often occurs between youth artists at ArtVan, where they work together, side by side on their artwork. This creates a natural opportunity to practice communication and negotiation skills, as well as decision making. This week, two girls from Perryman Village created a collaborative drawing representing their friendship. They worked side by side, each drawing on one side of the paper. “I drew a rainbow because I’m happy when I’m with her.” “We’re best friends. I drew this side and she drew that side.”
In Biddeford this week, a youth artist named Kayden began his drawing with a spiral shape connecting outward into a snake-like creature. “It’s a rainbow sea serpent shark!” he exclaimed. He began coloring each section of his drawing in different colors. With lots of kids running around in the playground, Kayden was easily distracted, and became frustrated by his slow progress on his drawing. “Can you help me?” he asked Julianna. “Yes, what would you like me to draw?” she responded. “You color the blue part and I’ll color the purple part.” As they began to draw together, Kayden asked Julianna, “Whoa, how did you color that so fast?” “Try using the side of your pencil, like this” she responded, showing him how to shade with a colored pencil. ArtVan staff noticed that Kayden was much more focused on his art while working collaboratively, and he was proud to show off his finished drawing and then run off to play with his friends on the playground.