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Using art to access emotions

Sixteen talented young artists from St Patrick’s and Fernridge schools recently held an ‘Exploring Emotions through Art’ exhibition in the St Patrick’s school hall.

The mastermind behind the course was local artist Katie Gracie, who wanted to combine two things she is passionate about: emotions and art.

Gracie told the Times-Age she wasn’t prepared for how beautifully the students picked up and executed the concept.

“I see a real need for children to express themselves when they’ve gone through something, and it doesn’t have to be anything massively traumatic but a way of connecting their emotions with art,” Gracie said.

Gracie, who worked in the funeral industry before she began teaching private art classes, applied for funding through the Masterton District Creative Communities Scheme, which encourages community involvement, celebrates cultural diversity, and encourages young people to participate in arts activities.

Eight students each from St Patrick’s and Fernridge schools were selected to participate in Gracie’s 10-week art class.

The young artists attended a one-hour weekly session in small classes of four children during term 2.

“We touched on stuff like what does it look like when we’re frustrated and how does that make us feel, what colours would we use,” Gracie said.

She ensured each student got one on one time with her, an important aspect of education that is often hard to ensure happens in a classroom environment.

“They had a sharing stone that they used in class, and that was used when it was their time to talk, and nobody else does.

“The children decorated about 100 hearts over the course, and they were for people to take home to use in the same manner.”

Gracie has plans to run more Exploring Emotions through Art courses in the future if she can get the funding for it again.

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