The Art of Distraction
There is an artist in everyone. There can be no doubt about it. Art heals.
The process of creating art is a great attention shifter. In this shifting of attention the brain changes gears and the focus on chronic pain is mitigated. My chosen medium is metalwork. I like the alchemy and the magic of the heated metals changing form from liquid to solid and then turning into something precious and durable. What we focus on becomes our reality. The process and praxis of creating art helps us to change our focus.
I have had the honor of teaching a class of high schoolers; not your run-of-the-mill achievers but a special class of students the system couldn’t address. These are exceptional students who learn in very different ways. They are gifted but difficult to teach in a group setting or in traditional terms. Art brings out the best in them and allows each one to focus independently. They have grown up with computers and they all have cellphones; they know how to get their questions answered quickly. Finding answers for deeper questions and a yearning for the meaning of it all is another story.
We have created masks, bird sculptures, totem poles, ceramic amulets and talismans, precious metal clay pendants, Goldie Bronze charms and Zipper Jewels ™. These students have talent. They have helped one another, opened up like flowers, and become totally focused on their projects. They are visibly amped and distracted during their process of creating their pieces. At the end of each project their artworks have been displayed in the local co-op gallery, Arts Alive in Breckenridge, complete with an opening party.
The SCAC (Summit County Arts Council) sponsors these teaching projects at Snowy Peaks High School and at the Arts District in Breckenridge. As Education Outreach Program Director I am expanding our program to teach the Wounded Warriors families coming to Breckenridge in April and September, the brain injured group sponsored by the BOEC (Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center) as well as Girl Scout Troops and Timberline Adult Day Care. If you would like your group to participate you can call the gallery at (970) 453-0450 and leave your name and number for me (Yvonne Kuennen).