Art is an outlet

...a release from the strain of life and a channel allowing creativity and emotion to flow. OUTLET is a self-paced, non-invasive process for finding healing through art and creativity for children of all ages and upbringings. With art as an outlet, kids are free to take the first step towards healing and have fun while doing it!

 

Exploration + experience

 

Accessibility

In order to make art accessible to all, I experimented with gathering art tools and materials from nature such as plants, flowers, rocks, etc., and observed how kids responded.

Art Therapy

Incorporating elements of art therapy into my project, I dug deep into the processes and science of creative expression for trauma survivors, the neurobiological effects of childhood trauma, and art as a method of healing.

Uganda experiences

Personal experience and takeaways from my time spent teaching art to kids in Uganda, Africa as well as what I learned about art in under-resourced communities.

 

the cards

Utilizing these categories; Emotional Discovery, Creative Expression, Relaxation, and Control, children are provided 4 approaches to using art as an outlet.

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With these go-at-your-own-pace art prompts, each child may choose a category of cards based on their prioritized emotional needs. The cards offer various ways to navigate through unprocessed, difficult or unknown emotions, as well as an opportunity for play, creativity and relaxation. For example, a child experiencing tremendous change in their life may benefit most from the Control category, while one experiencing overstimulation and chaos may find a greater need for the Relaxation prompts. If a child is restless and hyperactive, the Creative Expression prompts are exciting ways for them to release some energy and exercise their creativity, and the Emotional Discovery prompts offer story-like and playful methods for outward communication of inward or trapped feelings. 

 

Process + visuals

 

about me

 

Hi I'm Lauren, a designer, artist and the creator of OUTLET. If someone were to follow me around with binoculars throughout my days, they'll most likely witness me creating lots of art and playing with lots of kids. Those two are huge motivators behind the making of OUTLET, but there's one more thing in particular that has influenced the creation of this project, which hits close to home: a deep empathy and compassion for those dealing with trauma at a young age. Growing up I faced a great deal of stress and pain within my home, so I learned to create a safe space from the chaos and paint my emotions in an honest and expressive way. My sketchbook was my retreat and the art that filled the pages was my outlet. Art became a vessel for releasing the hurt I experienced before I was ready to be fully vulnerable with someone else or begin to process everything through therapy. The vision for OUTLET is centered around preventing unresolved pain from becoming foundational scars, and ultimately imbalances in personality and behavior that only grow in their difficulty to address as time progresses. My aspiration is to provide a method of healing, coping and play through art and creative expression to children all around the world from various homes and backgrounds as they learn to navigate and process their emotions and experiences. 

Citations

‘Expressive and Creative Arts Methods for Trauma Survivors’ by Lois Carey.

‘Art Therapy and Social Action, Treating the World’s Wounds’ by Frances Kaplan.

‘Using Expressive Arts to Work with Mind, Body and Emotions, Theory and Practice’ by Mark Pearson and Helen Wilson.

‘Guidelines for the future of communicating about the end of global poverty’, by Jennifer Lentfer.

‘Ethical Story Telling’ via www.ethicalstorytelling.com

‘How to Write About Africa’, by Binyavanga Wainaina.

Interview with Art Therapist, Joey Korein.

Interview with Co-Founder of Village of Hope Uganda, Rose Aber.

Brilliant ideas from artist, Emily Eisenhart.