Two freshmen took part in a powerful art project that allowed them to speak out creatively about the effects of bullying.
Throughout October, Ashley and Angelia participated in free workshops under the banner of "Art Against Bullying." The workshops were led by the You Will Rise Project and hosted at Open Ground Studios in Seaside. Participants worked on group projects as well as personal ones. To call attention to cyber bullying, for instance, the group used computer parts to create an image of an evil clown. For her personal project, Ashley painted a girl drowning in mean words to express how she felt hearing people say negative things about her behind her back.
Angelia had two personal projects. For one about cyber bullying, she used different parts of old computers to make a hammer with bad words on it and a person with a broken heart, signifying the pain that words can cause. The second project was a series of three paintings called "Change," which in going from color to darkness shows how a child is transformed by bullying. The child's happiness "turns to sadness, and it can't be recovered," Angelia says.
Angelia, who had never had an art class before, says she learned a lot from the workshops, not only about bullying but also about art itself.
Below is Ashley's reflection about the workshops:
"Through doing group projects, I became friends with a lot of the fellow student artists and adult volunteers. Some of them have been bullied before: There is a girl who was being mocked by people for her hair, but I see her as a kind and humorous person that draws beautiful manga. And the founder of the You Will Rise program, Paul, was bullied when he was young for being gay, but he found joy in his life by painting, and now he is a fantastic artist. By painting and talking to all these inspiring people in this program, I really feel empowered and motivated to do the things I love, and not let the hurtful things people say get to me."