Expressing Themselves Through Art

The room was loud. The adolescent girls’ voices clanged against walls as they moved around, bickered with each other, and tried to find a rhythm. “Everyone is so dysregulated,” thought Emma Martinez, Back2Back staff. She got a stack of paper and the tub of markers out and placed them in the middle of a table. The noise slowly decreased as the girls gathered around the table and put marker to paper.

“It was then I realized the one time I’ve seen our community even remotely regulated is when we’re creating, and I knew we needed to try to enhance and increase these moments,” shared Emma. Summer planning had started, and Emma knew exactly who she wanted to be part of art classes for the girls. 

Kristine Hall, former Back2Back staff member, has long used art as a therapeutic technique and also a way to connect to nature, herself, God, and others. Kristine was all in after talking with Emma and began planning art classes in line with the summer theme – Who Does God Say You Are?

“Each art project was linked to the theme, and Kristine taught the girls a new technique each week,” explained Emma. Pastel paints, water colors, associating colors with emotions/feelings, and prayer boxes were just a few of the things they learned together. As they were creating, Kristine would pose questions to them – what do you pray to God about? What will you put in your prayer box? There was a deeper meaning behind each art project the girls did.

“Every week, all nine of them wait anxiously for art with Miss Kristine,” shared Emma. “It was amazing to see just how regulated and encouraging they became with each other when they were in front of paper or a new project and creating.”

“What a privilege it was to create with the girls each week,” shared Kristine. “My favorite moment was when each of them got into a creative flow and just went with it. It was quiet, peaceful, and they related to one another with ease.”

While the summer has ended, Kristine plans to continue offering art class each week for this special group of girls as they learn, independently and collaboratively, that art offers so many ways to create and express themselves – no words are needed.