Mixed Media-1

Plexi-Mobiles w/ Sara Santamaria (TCP)-Day One

This post was written by Paint Love Operations intern, Maya Glass.

To learn more about Paint Love's internship program, visit www.gopaintlove.org/careers. 

What’s more fitting for Cool Girls than a cool, unique project? Nothing! We all may not remember, but when we were newborns we must have stared inquisitively at that spinning object above our heads playing tunes until it ‘lullabied’ us to sleep. What was that thing?! Oh yes, a mobile. Yesterday afternoon, about 45 girls in grade levels 2nd-5th indulged in creating eccentric shapes to be hung on their own handcrafted mobiles. This project is led by our wonderful lead artist, Sara Santamaria.

Each girl participated with enthusiasm and enjoyed making their prototypes. In this test run, we found what did or did not work for balance, string placement, weight distribution, etc. This time next go round, the girls should be familiar and experienced with the material. They will be making one large mobile, collectively as the final product. Thank you to our T-1 partner, Barack Obama Elementary, and Cool Girls, Inc. for allowing us to bring our program to your bright young girls. Can’t wait to meet again!


Creating felt friends at Ronald McDonald House

Guest post written by Paint Love volunteer Mandy Goodwin.

Last Tuesday, families staying at Ronald McDonald House were invited to join Paint Love and Forever We volunteers in creating an art project. Curious children peered through the door at hot glue guns, piles of felt and googly eyes. We were making no-sew stuffed animals. Young minds weighed the options of making a seal, whale, or penguin. Some new the answer immediately, others needed a moment to decide.

Creating art creates relationships. Volunteers, parents, and children laughed together gluing pieces and stuffing felt bellies. Stories were shared. Dreams and wishes were whispered to cut-out hearts tucked inside the stuffing.  Some leaned into their imaginative ideas and created their own animals. Bows, extra eyes, and drawings personalized projects. This room, messy with art supplies, was a space for families to just be together, to create together.

Artist Alice Lim, and Paint Love volunteers Mandy Goodwin and Laurel Wong pose with a family at the Ronald McDonald House. 

Artist Alice Lim, and Paint Love volunteers Mandy Goodwin and Laurel Wong pose with a family at the Ronald McDonald House. 

At Ronald McDonald House, families have a place to call home while their children receive medical care. The house isn’t just a place for shelter, it’s an opportunity for a family to heal as whole. Our Paint Love project was created for healing. The handmade stuffed animals are perfect for aching hearts and bodies to cling to. They’re small enough to be tucked into arms and backpacks during travel. And like all of our favorite stuffed animals, will listen and comfort at any moment

Paper Flowers with Messages of Affirmation with Kim Stuart and See Beautiful

Any chance to hang out with Lydia and the See Beautiful group is a true joy! On February 24th, Paint Love artist Kim Stuart taught the group how to make large paper flowers. We encouraged the girls (and guys) to write affirmations on the petals to be a reminder of how unique and wonderful they are. Kim Stuart was the perfect artist for this event. She speaks with such honesty and openness. The kids enjoyed it so much.

I love this recap of the event from Lydia:

// Smart is the new, fun cool. // ~ 8-yr-old wisdom
He wasn't supposed to be in our See Beautiful Club. We hadn't planned for him. We hadn't planned for any of the kids who joined us. When our See Beautiful Club members were pulled to prep for an upcoming performance 60 seconds before our club meeting began, there was a moment of desperately trying to figure out how to see beautiful in the moment. Paint Love was with us, and they brought the incredibly talented artist, Kim Stuart, to lead our girls in an experience of affirmation and celebration of self. Standing in an empty room, we brainstormed next steps. There was a group of students still in the Decatur Housing Authority afterschool program. They were the children who's behavior precluded them from being in the upcoming performance (that our girls were yanked to practice in). They were the kiddos who often miss out on the most exciting things. They're the students who are told the least often how special, loved, valuable, worthy, kind and beautiful they are. They were the perfect group of kids who deserved this experience. Our See Beautiful Club shifted and we sat with these 25 amazing students and asked them to talk about what parts of themselves they deemed beautiful, or loved. It was crickets. They couldn't name anything and that silence was not lost on me. We started by sharing examples, "I statements" to help them craft their own voice and reflect on themselves. Affirmations slowly started to trickle in, but what happened next was the best. The activity Kim planned was to make flowers of affirmations and we were faced with a lot of children who didn't immediately think "flower-crafting" was cool. But then it happened. In the midst of markers and poster board everywhere, every single child sat with the invitation and the affirmations poured from their minds to their fingers to their faces. The sheer joy of celebrating and honoring themselves was palpable. Every single child beamed with happiness as their flower came together and they had space to see beautiful in themselves. It wasn't how we planned it. It wasn't what we were expecting. It was infinitely more beautiful.
While there were incredible sentiments shared by these precious children, this one statement, by a child who initially said he didn't have any good thoughts about himself showed such grace and belief in his abilities. Smart really is the fun, new cool. He's brilliant.

(Lydia Criss Mays - See Beautiful)

Look at those super stars!! We had several incredible volunteers at this event. They did an amazing job helping things run smoothly! 

Seeing the confidence and joy in these young students is so inspirational. Their creativity abounds!