This summer, BuildaBridge Restorative Teaching Artists fanned our across the Philadelphia Metropolitan area. Two BaB teams joined the University of Pennsylvania's Netter Center for movement and visual arts workshops. Kimberly Fourney co-led the program at the Penn Alexander School.
As I reflect on my time at the Netter Center, Penn Alexander, I am filled with gratefulness and hopefulness. My experience was marked by enthusiastic and eager first and second graders; ready to explore art mediums and express themselves creatively. Working with children in this age group reminded me to focus on being present during the creative process and enjoy each moment as it happens. Ultimately, it has made me a more adaptable and creative teaching artist.
During this time, I blended learning about the art process with the product. While creating art with the participants, I was often given the opportunity to help participants reframe unexpected situations, such as watercolors ripping through paper (that a few participants originally labeled as “ugly”). With encouragement to be adaptable, we turned the artwork into something different. Participants were instructed to
rip their artwork in a few more places to make it look more artistic. Once complete, participants proudly held up their new artwork and showed me just how far creativity can take someone if they give it a chance. This scenario is the most fitting metaphor of my time at the Netter Center.
This was a truly rewarding experience, and I am incredibly grateful for the joyful and creative personalities I have learned from. I know that I will hold this experience close as I continue to strengthen my skills as a teaching artist.