Tag Archives: Art Center

Using Collage in Art Therapy

This post is part of our blog series by our Art Therapist, Ally Root. Ally is passionate about the ways in which the creative arts can bring healing, and she will be sharing her thoughts here along with projects that she has completed with the children at our Care Center in Ghana. You can read Ally’s previous posts on art therapy in our blog archives. Collage is an excellent medium to use in an art therapy setting. For individuals who may not feel completely confident in their drawing abilities, collage is a great way for them to express themselves creatively without the pressure of making a realistic drawing. Additionally, the act of cutting and ripping images and gluing them together can be cathartic for some. Collage gives artists the opportunity to pull pieces from their surrounding environments and form their own collection of images and words that have personal meaning to them. From these pieces, they can create their own unique entity that reflects their inner world. Using old newspapers to compile images into collages is a favorite activity with the children at the Touch A Life Care Center. Upon request, the oldest boys at the care center participated in a free collage-making […]

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Exploring Safety Issues in Art Therapy

This post is part of our blog series on art therapy by our Art Center Director, Ally Root. Ally is passionate about the ways in which the creative arts can bring healing, and she will be sharing her thoughts here along with projects that she has completed with the children at our Care Center in Ghana. You can read her previous posts here, here and here. The children at the Touch A Life Care Center have come from varied backgrounds of slavery and exploitation, but one thing they have in common is a past that was not always safe. Feeling safe in one’s surroundings is important for all human beings, specifically children. Safety can mean many things, and pertain to: Physical safety: being away in proximity from immediate danger Emotional/Psychological safety: free from emotional/psychological harm and abuse, the ability to develop relationships based on trust rather than fear, feelings of security in one’s surroundings Emotional and physical safety can be compromised if a child has been in a dangerous or threatening situation. When a person enters art therapy, their safety situation should be assessed in order to help them surpass any obstacles they face toward living a physically and emotionally safe life. The art therapy […]

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Exploring Different Materials in Art Therapy

This post is part of our blog series on art therapy by our Art Center Director, Ally Root. Ally is passionate about the ways in which the creative arts can bring healing, and she will be sharing her thoughts here along with projects that she has completed with the children at our Care Center in Ghana. You can read her previous posts here, here and here.   One of the great benefits of using art in therapy is that the creative process allows for a variety of sensory experiences. Sight, smell, touch, and sound are all elements associated with art-making. The materials that one chooses to use for their artistic creation has great meaning. The way a person interacts with the art materials they use can bring up emotional states triggered by the sensory experience. For example, the act of molding clay can be overwhelming for some who may not be comfortable with moist or fluid-like materials. This person may prefer to use a more structured material such as colored pencil. For another person, colored pencil may seem restricting in comparison to clay, as clay is easily molded and colored pencil tends to be somewhat rigid. Art materials can be fun to explore as you […]

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Found Object Sculptures for Art Therapy

This post is part of our blog series on art therapy by our Art Center Director, Ally Root. Ally is passionate about the ways in which the creative arts can bring healing, and she will be sharing her thoughts here along with projects that she has completed with the children at our Care Center in Ghana. You can read her previous posts here and here. “Found object originates from the French objet trouvé, describing art created from undisguised, but often modified, objects or products that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a non-art function.” (Museum of Modern Art Collection, www.moma.org). Using everyday items, or “found objects,” in art can be a very meaningful experience. Found objects can include anything from old household items to discarded trash. By using found objects as an artistic way, the artist has the opportunity to take something seemingly mundane and turn it into a unique aesthetic entity. Found object creations are very valuable in art therapy because they allow the participant to attach their own unique meaning to items that may commonly hold a completely different significance to others. Making “found object art” can also metaphorically describe a transformation process by turning […]

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A Space for Art Therapy

This post is part of our blog series on art therapy by our Art Center Director, Ally Root. Ally is passionate about the ways in which the creative arts can bring healing, and she will be sharing her thoughts here along with projects that she has completed with the children at our Care Center in Ghana. One of the most important components to a successful art therapy approach is having a comfortable environment in which the therapy can take place. It is vital for both parties (the client and the therapist) to create a space that feels safe, nurturing, and conducive to building an open and trusting relationship. This notion was conceptualized by English pediatrition and psychoanalyst, D.W. Winnicott, who referred the therapeutic space as a “holding environment”. Winnicott’s theory asserts: “Term “holding” refers to the supportive environment that a therapist creates for a client. The concept can be likened to the nurturing and caring behavior a mother engages in with her child that results in a sense of trust and safety. Winnicott believed that this “holding environment” was critical to the therapeutic environment and could be created through the therapist’s direct engagement with a client. Winnicott also believed that antisocial […]

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Wish Dolls Made With Love

Ally, our art therapist at Connor’s Creative Arts Center, has been busy! Our favorite project last week was the Wish Doll! Each girl at our Care Center in Ghana made her very own wish doll with fabric and yard. They wrote down a wish on a small piece of paper, which was then folded up and placed inside the doll as it was made. Then the girls got to accessorizing! Ally told us that they all enjoyed making the dolls and then took them outside to play and show to their friends! We hope every single wish comes true.  

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Braden Deal’s Creative Journey to Ghana

Braden didn’t decide to intern with Touch A Life for community service hours or a school requirement. Like many others, Braden’s work with Touch A Life in Ghana came from a journey through grief. Braden, age 19, is the oldest brother in the Deal family. His younger brother, Connor, died suddenly at the age of 12, leaving the Deal family broken and searching for meaning. That search led to a connection with Pam and Randy Cope, Touch A Life’s co-founders, and the Connor Creative Arts Center came to life. About eight months after the opening of the Connor Creative Arts Center in Ghana, there was a need for a temporary intern to lead children in art therapy activities and help the healing process while the staff conducts a search for a permanent Art Director. Little did Braden know that his own healing process would so quickly help heal others. Braden has always loved art and creative expression. Growing up, his passions were drawing cartoons and playing music, particularly the guitar, piano and drums. In high school he became interested in film and visual storytelling, and he recently spent some time on a local movie set to see what the film […]

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Meet Ashley

Ashley Moore is the Interim Art Director at Connor’s Creative Arts Center at our Care Center in Ghana. She is currently finishing up a three-month stint in Ghana where she has been serving the children and assisting in implementing art therapy curriculum. Ashley first connected with Nan Deal, our fundraising partner for Connor’s Creative Arts Center, and then spoke with Pam Cope about her desire to spend time at the Touch A Life Care Center. She agreed to join the Touch A Life team from August to November as the Interim Art Director. Our previous Art Director, Jenny Flowers, left Ghana to pursue an advanced degree in graduate school, and Ashley helped us keep things going at the Art Center while the Touch A Life team searches to identify a Ghanaian worker who can take over this position. This role involves engaging the children in various art projects and following the art curriculum provided by Art Feeds. Ashley also likes to incorporate art projects based on lessons from church, including topics that encourage the children to be the light of the world. When we asked Ashley to describe her typical day, she said that she spends her morning reading, writing […]

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Giving, Healing and Creating

On February 17, 2009, Ron and Nan Deal experienced the tragic loss of their 12-year-old son, Connor – a boy who loved to sing and make art. In the months that followed, Ron and Nan, along with their two other sons Braden and Brennan, searched for a way to process their grief and find a place to share Connor’s creativity with the world. The Deals found both after partnering with Touch A Life. Nan described her first trip to Ghana as a “rescue mission” for herself. Traveling with Pam Cope impacted Nan greatly, especially since the co-founder of Touch A Life had also experienced the grief of losing a child. “Whether it is with Touch A Life or another organization, I think anyone who has suffered a profound loss needs to get out there and start serving, because in that you will find that you are not alone,” Nan wrote in an e-mail interview. “But the beauty of Touch A Life is that they are ministering to two groups…these precious children who need a voice, and the grieving parents who have so much more love to give. When you put those two together, it is the beauty from the ashes.” On […]

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Life After the Rescue

The International Labour Organization has named today “World Day Against Child Labor”. Concerned citizens and aid workers across the globe are coming together to spread awareness about a crisis that few see first-hand. “Rescue” is what comes to mind for most people, after hearing about children trapped in modern day slavery, living in poverty and forced to work with no education and no pay. But rescue does not indicate a one-time action; rather, to rescue someone is to embark upon a long-term journey that leads to freedom. The Touch A Life Foundation is committed to providing holistic customized care for the children in all of our programs that reaches far beyond the day each one is rescued from slavery. The 47 children living at the Touch A Life Care Center in Ghana are lovingly cared for by our Ghanaian house parents and in-country staff. Their days are full as they attend classes at Joy Standard School, play sports, dance, swim, and create masterpieces in the therapeutic art center. Some of the older children living at the Care Center prepare for the future with vocational training. They shadow skilled volunteers who travel to Ghana to provide services, like dental and medical […]

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