June 16, 2009

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This summer I will be an art instructor in a three week intensive program in Boston called Artsbridge. I am incredibly excited and honored to be a part of this program and will be updating my blog regularly over the summer as the experiences there unfold…so keep checking back! Below is a description of the program, courtesy of their site at:
(image to left: from last summer’s program)

The mission of Artsbridge, Inc. is to provide a safe environment, which cultivates creativity, voice, respectful listening and dialogue in order to empower today’s youth to become leaders in the quest for peace in and between their own communities.

For generations, children on both sides of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict have witnesses and suffered trauma. Though most have never met their Israeli or Palestinian counterpart, they have come to see “each other” as “the enemy.” There is no trust, and no sense of understanding for the lived experiences of the other. For many Palestinian and Israeli youth, there is difficulty imagining a future that includes peace and coexistence with their neighbors. As hard as it is to imagine peace and coexistence, it is even harder for them to recognize they have potential to bring about positive change in their environment and their future.Israeli and Palestinian youth who participate in Artsbridge will discover a process that facilitates the safe expression of their desires and fears. Through Artsbridge these youth will be introduced to the tools that can help then envision the prospect of a future which includes peaceful coexistence. They will learn to see themselves as creative, empowered individuals with the ability to work towards affecting positive changes in their environment, while developing leadership skills that will help them empower others.

The Artsbridge Approach

In order to make a lasting impact on its participants, Artsbridge uses a holistic approach unique among Israeli-Palestinian educational programs. Artsbridge integrates expressive arts therapy, dialogue and art making. The therapeutic component enables participants to articulate and process their own trauma. Through a reflective dialogue model they learn to hear, understand and honor the experiences of those who live on the other side of the conflict. Through art making they find common ground, work cooperatively and create something new and positive together.The Artsbridge staff are art therapists, artists and psychologists who have experience working with youth from many walks of life. They also represent various sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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