The WINGS Peer Educators had started their school vacation and everyone seemed to be in a sluggish mood. The most dedicated participants showed up late, and ArtCorps Artist Evelina Jagminaite could see that staying inside the classroom would not be productive.
I had planned to focus our creative workshop on managing emotions and other self-help techniques. Adolescence is a difficult period for everyone, and the changes that are taking place in the body often cause anxiety, stress and other negative emotions. As the youth arrived, I asked them what they do when they are feeling sad or stressed. Rather than the reflection I expected, my question seemed to confuse the group and they simply shrugged their shoulders in response.
Changing tactics, I suggested: “It’s a beautiful day. Let’s go for a walk in the forest and explore what we can learn from nature.” One of the girls led our expedition, and everyone seemed even more puzzled by the fact that we were not taking any art supplies with us.
As we walked in the forest, I had the group (who were still confused by my strange behavior) listen to its sounds and observe its textures, smells and colors. I explained the concept of “land art” through an improvised installation that I made out of a cactus.
Slowly, they began picking up natural objects that attracted their attention very soon their creativity exploded. One abstraction after the next was turned into human faces and figures. After sharing our pieces, we decided to make a public installation next to a small soccer field.