Over the past year, Free Arts has had the opportunity to do 5 Free Arts Days at the Wayside House in South Minneapolis. The Wayside House was one of the country’s first residential treatment centers that focused on women, and continues to provide a safe place for recovery and growth for both the women and their children.
The funding for this opportunity came from the Minnesota State Arts Board through a Partners in Arts Participation grant, and allowed us to bring a wide variety of arts programing to nurture and uplift the Wayside youth. Themes included the 3R’s, Under the Sea, Stories, Books and Words and highlighted crafts families could replicate on their own using accessible supplies on-hand.
Each event brought in a new and exciting special guest selected to motivate and empower the youth. The entertainment spanned hip hop dance with Alissa Paris, to story-telling with Nothando Zulu and a live action puppet show from Magic Lantern Puppetry.
Youth were paired one on one with a caring adult “art pal,” who supported them throughout the day. Whether it was laughing over a slice of pizza or while painting each other’s faces, the art pals helped create a safe space for the kids to express themselves regardless of what challenges they may be facing.