Art has an amazing capacity to connect people. It overcomes barriers of language and time to engage us as individuals and societies with the power of expression without the need for words. We can often be moved by a piece of art without being able to say why.
A group of children in South Australia are using art to express something very important to their school community and to connect with other children around the world. Each year, children of Paringa Park Primary school run a student-led art auction to fundraise for charity.
‘It creates a life-long memory for the kids,’ says their teacher Mr Mills, ‘creating art can be mindful and therapeutic but this project in particular also enhances cultural appreciation and awareness. It develops both independence and collaboration and a range of social, critical and creative thinking skills.’
The children set to work creating over 100 original works for their fundraiser auction. They had their own responsibilities and had control over their tasks.
An incoming student to the class, Bete, has a strong connection with Beyond the Orphanage (BTO). She is originally from Ethiopia where BTO began and now lives with her parents in Australia. Mr Mills asked if she thought nominating BTO as the year’s charity auction partner would be a good idea to which she said, ‘Yes of course!’ When put to a vote the class agreed.
‘I am very proud of Bete’ Mr Mills says, ‘she has been a wonderful spokesperson for the auction sharing her story with peers and other members of the school community making this a very meaningful experience for all involved. As a teacher I live for the moments when the kids shine. To see those who have been struggling academically find their way through art is truly rewarding. For the children, to work on a project that shows their values and empathy for others is something really worthwhile. They work so hard to complete their work and to prepare for the event. There is an amazing sense of joy when you see a child’s completed piece of art in a frame and hung on a wall.’
The art fundraiser was an amazing success. All 116 paintings were sold! The kids raised over $2000 for BTO. A week after the auction, our founder and CEO Geoff Hucker, spoke to the class via Skype, to express our gratitude and to answer their questions around how the money they raised was going to help.
It takes a certain kind of person to make a difference in the world. To choose to help others. To fight for good. When we put the call out earlier in January to help with John's surgery, we were touched by the donations and the messages of support. Good news, we hear you ask? Last Friday...