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Summer Art Projects

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As part of our  Summer Olympic camp at the Care Center, Jenna and Caitlin, two students from Lipscomb University‘s Marriage and Family Therapy program, helped our Care Center kids create a series of art projects. Painted stones, intricate masks, past and future handprints, and calming glitter bottles all played a role in teaching the Touch A Life kids about their value and taking time to discover their true selves.      

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Alas Café Reveal

    The Touch A Life Art Healing team chose Mamas en Catacamas for our first Creative Partner Project. In the heart of Honduras, Mamas en Catacamas works with mothers and young people to provide with a safe place during the day, as well as creative space for artisans and job training. Kim Lewis, from Kim Lewis Designs, traveled to Catacamas this month to transform the multipurpose space into a creative gathering space and coffee shop.       Kim and the Mamas en Catacamas team made the choice to name this creative center the Alas Café because “alas” means wings in Spanish. “Wings symbolize the freedom to be, to create, to not only survive the streets of Honduras, but to thrive,” said Kim. This space will serve as a coffee shop for people in the community to congregate, play games and support each other.       The mamas of Mamas en Catacamas are already making coffee and baked goods to be sold to the public. The cafe also serves as a space for young budding artists to make works for sale like paintings, handmade guitars, and jewelry, which are displayed in a gallery area. Kim told us that one young artist named Jairo was commissioned […]

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Music and Art Camp

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In March, Ron and Nan Deal led a team of videographers, artists, musicians, and friends to Ghana. This passionate group planned a multi-day art and music camp at the Touch A Life Care Center with activities for all ages! Suitcases full of art supplies such as polaroid cameras, Legos, sidewalk chalk, and even a few guitars made their way to the Care Center from all over the United States. The youngest Touch A Life kids, the 25 children who were rescued in October and November, participated in activities that introduced various art supplies and methods. Nan brought homemade lego-shaped crayons to draw pictures of Connor Creative Art Center, while other team members shared how to sew simple dolls, and make fun shapes out of pipe cleaners. In January, each of the newest Touch A Life kids had created a drawing that would be made into a tile and placed with the rest of the entryway mosaic at the Art Center. The Deals returned to Ghana with the finished tiles and a local mason laid them in place. Every child stood close to find their artwork and proudly admired the finished installation. When the older children came home from school each […]

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Portrait Practice

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Not only are the Touch A Life kids experiencing healing from past trauma during their sessions in Connor Creative Art Center, they are also practicing their technical drawing skills! This month some of our older students have been studying the shapes and forms needed to draw faces and portraits. We are so impressed by these artists and their growing abilities! If you’d like to help provide art supplies and staff for our Art Center in Ghana, we still need 40 Art Sponsors! These sponsors commit to $360 a year ($30 a month) and we love to see families and friends come together to raise that amount. Contact our team for more information about you can support our Art Healing program.

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Lilly’s House: The Big Reveal

Lilly’s House Art Center is finished! Two Art Centers in three weeks is a monumental task, but with amazing partnerships like with the Rapha House team and our lead designer, Kim Lewis, both Selah Art Center and Lilly’s House Art Center are now ready to host years of creativity and healing. The theme for Lilly’s House is “Doors of Hope” with brightly painted doors covering the entire front facade. Standing tall on the Siem Reap Rapha House campus, this cottage is now a beacon of color and light for girls who have survived trafficking and exploitation. Kim envisioned these girls walking through a colorful door and finding hope on the other side of a dark path that may have led to this place. Inside Lilly’s House, our team carpenter, Jake Scott, designed an incredible elephant that serves as a work table and bookshelf. Painted bamboo lines the walls, creating a jungle home for our elephant friend, and colorful flags and floor cushions create a soft, comforting, and inspiring place for the Rapha House girls to call their own. Our friends at Art Feeds continued their work developing an International Curriculum for healing through creative expression, and helped the girls participate in their first projects – […]

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Lilly’s House in Progress

With Selah Art Center completed, our design team has traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia, to start work on another Art Center for the girls at a second Rapha House campus. This Art Center has been named Lilly’s House and features jewel tones and an elephant theme! Our carpenter, Jake Scott, has been working with the Angolee, Head of Maintenance at Rapha House, to create a custom elephant bookshelf. Pam has been exploring the nearby community for flowers and accessories to decorate the Art Center. We love that we are able to locally source so many items! The finishing touches are happening this weekend, so stay tuned for the big reveal of Cambodia Art Center number two – Lilly’s House!

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Selah: The Big Reveal

After months of planning and a furious few days of building and painting, Selah Art Center is complete! What was once an abandoned house boat floating on the waters of Battambang, Cambodia, is now a colorful space ready for creativity and healing. We could not be more thankful for our wonderful partner, Rapha House. Their staff and volunteers are instrumental in the fight to end human trafficking and exploitation, and Selah Art Center is one more tool they will use to restore survivors of slavery. The newly restored houseboat features a Lotus theme throughout the design. We love what Kim Lewis had to say about her inspiration. “The lotus flower represents purity, faithfulness, and vitality. Vitality is the ability to live, grow, and develop…the power to endure and survive. Growing in muddy waters, the lotus roots can go up to 4 feet deep. The deeper the waters get, the deeper the flower roots down to survive. Yet, all we see on the surface is this delicate, beautiful flower. For the design of the Art Center, I suggested the lotus as our theme for the boat because the girls at Rapha House have persevered through adversity, yet they radiate with pure beauty.” When the completed […]

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Selah in Progress

This week has been filled with the beauty of Cambodia. Paints, fabrics, and carpentry are coming together to turn a dilapidated house boat into a stunning Art Center named Selah. With Kim Lewis at the design helm, our Art Center team, including carpenter Jake Scott and Touch A Life co-founder Pam Cope, have been busy painting and setting everything in place for the newest addition to the Rapha House campus in Battambang. Selah Art Center will serve as a place for healing and creativity for girls who have survived the exploitation of sex trafficking. The design team sourced fabric and accessories from local vendors, then started painting bright, bold colors that will bring Selah to life. We can’t wait to show you the finished product! And keep an eye on our Instagram for more photos from our adventures through Cambodia.

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You Art What You Eat

Connor Creative Art Center is full of new artwork this month! With 25 new little artists, our Art Director, Kwame is busy coming up with new projects to help them start their journey of creative expression. The younger kids have been working on drawing fruits and vegetables that are growing in the Care Center garden. Our older boys are also working on a food related project – painting dishes and meals!

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Researching the Effects of Art During Childhood

by Nancy Borowick

Our first-hand experience, as well as conversations with art therapy professionals, continues to underscore the obvious – access to the arts is good for children, especially those who have experienced trauma. This fact is the base of our Art Healing programs, and a new report from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) brings even more research to light. The NEA described the report as, “The Arts in Early Childhood: Social and Emotional Benefits of Arts Participation: A Literature Review and Gap-Analysis (2000-2015) synthesized findings from 18 recent reports in psychology and education research journals. These studies focused on the social and emotional outcomes of young children who participated in art forms such as music, dance, theater, drawing, and painting.” Studies covered topics such as social skills, emotional regulation, and development disorders. The NEA is looking to pursue “more detailed measurement of the complex nature of social-emotional development” through art-related methods in the future. You can read the summary of the report on the NEA News page.  

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