Perfect Fridays: The Perfect Print
The Mr and I were invited to attend the first annual Bell Tower Bash at The Arts Asylum in Kansas City. If you've been a long-time reader of the blog, you may remember the fashion show I attended there last summer.
The event included a gallery full of the artwork these children have made during their time in the Kids With Crayons program (in collaboration with reStart.) This particular piece brought tears to my eyes (I dislike public displays of emotions, I really do.) I rapidly tried to blink back my tears and made sure I avoided eye contact with everyone (I seriously dislike public displays of emotion - did I mention that already?) A simple 8 x 8 sheet of white drawing paper, black ink, and a child-size handprint. That's all this is. Thousands of parents across America (and probably around the world) have these hanging from their refrigerators or framed and placed on desks or walls. I've helped my own sons make artwork with their handprints, as have their school teachers. We've given them to grandparents, Christmas gifts we watch them unwrap in the warmth of a heavily decorated home. They are then proudly displayed on bookshelves, walls, keychains and more.
But this print isn't being displayed as a gift, it didn't originate out of your usual home, with the usual supply of paper and inkpads. This print came from a child who does not have a home like mine or yours; he or she may not even have a place they call home. This child doesn't have the same privileges I had growing up, nor does he or she have the privileges my children enjoy (and take for granted.)
I was so moved by this handprint and all that it signified, I wondered if it could be purchased. Upon reflection, when I think about raising my children, I don't think about giving them money or opportunities to make money. I think about giving them opportunities to learn and grow, to know peace, love, happiness, anger, sorrow, and everything in between. I try to give them a sense of safety and security, a place where they can express themselves and become the people.....they will become. That's what these children whose artwork was so proudly displayed need. Money helps, but so does time and resources. And love.
I left that evening, in awe of the children who managed to win over the hearts of the volunteers who have worked with them, in awe of their bravery in trying to express themselves through art. These kids were so excited to have their artwork displayed in a gallery - and their excitement over it made me realize all that I've been taking for granted. I have so much gratitude for Courtney Perry and her husband, the amazing members behind The Arts Asylum (whose names I do not know), and for Kat Mansur - for sharing a small portion of the amazing experiences they have had with helping these children.