PHILIPSBURG–National Institute of Art (NIA) and Art Saves Lives Foundation have teamed up in creating a hurricane-relief arts programme. Art Heals was conceived from the need to create activities for children and young adults offering relief from stress and trauma caused by Hurricane Irma and its aftermath.
“What I know for sure,” said NIA Co-Director Clara Reyes, “is that the arts are integral to our human experience. Art has always been the vehicle for expressing our innermost thoughts and feelings. For many children, the hurricane made a deep impact and this is a great way for children to give voice to the fear, insecurity and helplessness they may have felt when confronted by such a powerful storm like Irma.”
Reyes said that currently many families have homes without roofs.
“In many cases just hearing a strong breeze even weeks later can awaken fear in a child because of the residue of emotions running around in their bodies. The arts have been very effective for many years as therapies of healing. NIA’s teachers are committed to creating a safe, nurturing and fun environment where children can find release,” Reyes stated.
The collaboration for the Art Heals programme includes artist Tess Verheij of SXM Arts Craft Café, who will be providing art classes. Jacques Heemskerk will give capoeira classes. There are also classes in belly dancing, along with Team NIA teachers providing drama, dance, gymnastics, storytelling and much more to children on weekdays and Saturday mornings.
Art Heals classes are daily from 3:30 to 6:30pm for children and teenagers. Classes are also offered on Saturday morning at NIA at John Larmonie Centre in Philipsburg.