Posts Tagged ‘changemaker’

Global Women Leaders Unite!

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Every summer, Plan USA brings together women leaders of grassroots organizations from all over the world to provide a four-week training in leadership, business skills and project management, as part of their Global Women in Management program. This year ArtCorps was invited to provide a one-day session in Creative Leadership. Our group was made up of 28 participants from 22 different countries including Tanzania, Madagascar, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Ukraine and Russia. Never before have I led a training with such diversity and I was extremely excited and curious about what the group dynamic would be like.

I arrived a day early to observe the training and make final preparations. They were deeply engaged in a reflection about the role that gender plays in shaping the kind of access that people have to resources, information, rights and decision-making power. This was an astute group of women who understood power dynamics and had all struggled to overcome these challenges and become woman leaders in their countries. The power analysis would serve as a good foundation for our session on the following day.

As women walked into the room for the ArtCorps training, they were invited to make a creative name tag with a symbol that represented one of their key leadership qualities. Colorful symbols like flames and lions appeared representing their power, passion and courage, along with others that illustrated strengths such as listening, observation and love.

We engaged thGlobal Women in Management Training Group, Courtesy of Plan USAe women in a discussion about the role that our intersecting social identities play in shaping our confidence, style and experience as a leader. We explored different social categorizations and the kinds of messages that we have received about our value based on these categories such as race, gender, age, religion, marital status and socio-economic status.

The women created visual mandalas using collage images, pastels, charcoal and colored paper to represent the cultural assumptions and beliefs they have internalized or resisted around their different identities. They shared their mandalas in small groups, reflecting on how these messages have impacted their leadership roles. Stories and emotions poured out through their artistic representations which created an opportunity for them to find commonalities across lines of vast cultural difference.

The women then chose one limiting belief to explore in an Image Theater exercise in which they sculpted another woman into a physical shape that would illustrate the impact of that belief on their body and mind. This image could be enhanced with a phrase or movement. As we walked through the gallery of human sculptures, we heard messages like:

“I can’t be an astronomer, I’m a girl,” “I have to be perfect,” “I will never be good enough,” and multiple variations of “I shouldn’t exist.” Most of the shapes were bent over with their eyes lowered and body contracted into various positions of shame, defeat and fear. Tears flowed from the eyes of nearly every woman as they walked slowly through the room and witnessed the pain of having internalized such destructive messages that have, for centuries, held women back from their true power and potential.

As the group processed some of these shared feelings and experiences, the women began to discover a deeper sense of solidarity with each other, along with a fierce desire to liberate themselves and others from these crippling beliefs. We moved into the next phase of the activity in which the women re-sculpted the images to embody what it would look like, feel like and sound like to heal these wounds that have been passed down for generations. Arms opened, eyes looked up, shoulders pushed back and hearts leapt forward as women personified positions of empowerment and wisdom. This time the tears were of joy as they saw their capacity to transform themselves and heal. They identified specific actions such as self-care practices and peer circles that could support this transformation, and they expressed their commitment as leaders to mentor other women.

Women Leaders Stomping_Courtesy of Plan USAThe women ended the day by making masks that signified their life purpose. Images of stars, bridges, hearts and trees asserted their power to be beacons of light and inspiration for their communities as well as peacemakers, visionaries, healers and teachers. In addition to their deep personal conviction, this collective exploration of Creative Leadership reminded us that we need to work together and uplift each other in order to overcome the many challenges we face. We expressed this through a loud and passionate group stomp to close the session. Women held hands and rhythmically stepped back and forth from one foot to the other uttering a primal sound with each stomp of the foot, gaining momentum and volume until we ran into the center of the circle, arms held high and with a fierce roar of collective liberation! One participant voiced the general sentiment, “By myself, I can accomplish a lot, but as women united, we can truly change the world.”

Aryeh Shell is ArtCorps’ Education and Training Officer.

Meet the 2013 Creative Activists

artcorps Friday, October 4th, 2013

Meet the 2013 Creative Activists, Anthony Trecek-King and Karla Lara.

Music is a potent force for sparking our imaginations, connecting us to others and motivating us to do our best (think the Rocky theme song). For our 3rd Annual Creative Activist Awards (drumroll please), we are pleased to honor Anthony Trecek-King, Artistic Director for the Boston Children’s Chorus, and Karla Lara, Honduran Singer and Human Rights Activist, for using music to creatively advance social change in Boston and Central America.

Their awards will be presented on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at ArtCorps’ annual fundraiser, Raising Spirits: A Masquerade Fiesta.

Read the full press release announcing the 2013 Creative Activists here.

Championing a New Kind of Citizenship
Karla Lara, 2013 Creative Activist
Honduran Singer and Human Rights Activist
Listen to her song “Antes del puente” >>
Read Karla’s full bio >>

Encouraging Voices of All Ages to Reach their Potential

Anthony Trecek-King, 2013 Creative Activist
Artistic Director for the Boston Children’s Chorus
2012 Most Stylish Bostonian
Listen to his Boston TEDx talk >>
Read Anthony’s full bio >>

Victor: The Littlest Changemaker

Isabel Carrio Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Thank you to all of our supporters for helping to prepare young leaders like Victor! The story of “the littlest changemaker” is told by ArtCorps Artist Isabel Carrió, who has worked with Victor and the other ArtCorps’ Youth Leaders in Conservation in Guatemala since January 2012.

ArtCorps Youth Leader in Conservation, Victor, with his self-portrait_ArtCorps Artist Isabel Carrio, GuatemalaIn the first of the ArtCorps’ Youth Leaders in Conservation workshops, Victor was timid and withdrawn. But as the weeks went by, he began to show a new side of himself. Creative activities helped him break through his shell, and Victor began to express himself and engage in the learning process. His reserved manner became one of joy and confidence–and the peers who used to ignore him now admired his work. If he didn’t show up to a workshop session, everyone asked about him.

Over the year, the smallest member has become the group’s natural leader. In August 2012, a portrait taken by Victor was showcased in the Green Week photography exhibit. He is the most creative and passionate participant, and Victor has developed the ability to lead us to places we never dreamed of.

This project is being carried out in collaboration with EcoLogic Development Fund.

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Victor: El Impulsor Más Pequeño del Cambio

Isabel Carrio Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Agradezco a todas nuestras personas de apoyo por ayudar a preparar a los jóvenes líderes como Victor. La historia de “the littlest changemaker” es contada por la Artista Isabel Carrió de ArtCorps que ha trabajado con Victor y los demás Jóvenes Líderes en Conservación de ArtCorps en Guatemala desde enero de 2012.

ArtCorps Youth Leader in Conservation, Victor, with his self-portrait_ArtCorps Artist Isabel Carrio, GuatemalaEn los primeros talleres de los Jóvenes Líderes en Conservación de ArtCorps, Victor era tímido y retraído. Pero a medida que las semanas transcurrían, comenzó a mostrar un nuevo lado de sí mismo. Las actividades creativas lo ayudaron a atravezar la barrera de su coraza y Victor empezó a expresarse y a participar en el proceso de aprendizaje. Su manera reservada se transformó en una de alegría y confianza y los pares que solían ignorarlo, ahora admiraban su trabajo. Si no asistía a una sesión del taller, todos preguntaban por él.

Durante el año, el integrante más pequeño se ha convertido en el líder natural del grupo. En agosto de 2012, un retrato tomado por Victor fue exhibido en la exposición fotográfica de Semana Verde.  Es el participante más creativo y apasionado y ha desarrollado la capacidad para llevarnos a lugares que ni siquiera imaginamos.

Este proyecto se está llevando a cabo en colaboración con el Fondo de Desarrollo EcoLogic.

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Middle Schoolers Begin to See Themselves as Changemakers

Allison Havens Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

As ArtCorps Artist Allison Havens entered her first workshop with Honduran middle schoolers, she wasn’t quite sure what to expect from such a young age group.

I wondered, “Would the activities be too hard, boring, too long for middle school students?” But after the first icebreaker flopped (lining up in order of birth dates), we persevered to end up having a great workshop together!

We discussed what art is, who is an artist and who can be one, and determined that we are each artists in our own unique ways. We proceeded with group map drawings of their community–listing the things they liked about their communities (such as the soccer fields, the school, church, the friendly people) and what they’d like to change or improve in their community (such as the violence and alcohol abuse). We took turns sharing, listening and applauding.

The children began learning how to work in groups and how to be inclusive of everyone’s participation. And they began developing the confidence to create and share with one another. These are some of the foundational lessons as the students begin to view themselves as active members of their communities and participants of change in Tripoli, Atlantida!

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Los estudiantes de enseñanza media empiezan a verse como agentes de cambio

Allison Havens Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

La Artista ArtCorps Allison Havens no sabía bien qué esperar de niños de tan corta edad al empezar el primer taller con alumnos hondureños de enseñanza media.

Me preguntaba: “¿Serán demasiado difíciles, aburridas o largas estas actividades para niños de esta edad?”. Pero tras la primera actividad rompehielos (formar una fila por orden de edad), perseveramos y acabamos teniendo un taller maravilloso.

Debatimos sobre qué es el arte, qué es un artista y quién puede serlo, y llegamos a la conclusión de que todos somos artistas a nuestra manera. Luego dibujamos mapas de la comunidad en grupo, enumerando las cosas que les gustaban de su comunidad (como los campos de fútbol, la iglesia, la gente abierta) y lo que les gustaría cambiar o mejorar (como la violencia o la adicción al alcohol). En turnos, compartimos nuestras ideas, escuchamos y aplaudimos.

Los niños empezaron a aprender a trabajar en grupo y a incluir la participación de todos. Y comenzaron a desarrollar confianza para crear y compartir los unos con los otros. Éstas son algunas lecciones básicas necesarias mientras los alumnos empiezan a verse a sí mismos como miembros activos de sus comunidades y participantes en el cambio en Trípoli, Atlántida.

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