Art HOPE 1000 Healing Cranes

Art HOPE at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art

Art HOPE 1000 Healing Cranes at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art

There is magic in the metamorphic process of folding a 1-dimensional square piece of paper into a 3-dimensional work of art. The origami paper crane is feathered in the universal symbolism of health and well-being. Cranes are strong and graceful birds that mate for life, and over many centuries of origami lore and tradition these elegant creatures have come to represent hope. In Japanese culture the origami paper crane is used to celebrate and honor births, weddings, and deaths, and is a cradle to grave artistic symbol that brings good luck and wishes. Senbazuru is 1000 origami paper cranes strung together as a symbol of hope, which is created and given as a gift to uplift others. Hope is our strongest belief and most desired wish. It keeps us looking forward to things and moving toward good outcomes for our expectations and needs. The charming paper crane is a great illuminator of the art of hope.

The magic of the origami crane is its healing qualities. It has informed and enriched my expressive arts practice, and those familiar with the transformative process of folding paper into an animated shape have felt the hands-on alchemy of creative healing. Every origami experience I teach with intergenerational community groups engenders wonderfully animated stories about art and life. Participants learn the technique easily and some demonstrate amazing paper folding skills, usually the youngest in our programs. We often decorate blank white origami paper with our hopes and wishes for wellness, then fold it into a unique symbol of personal creative healing that empowers the maker. Therapeutic benefits of making origami include improved agility and motor skills, the confidence of learning a creative skill, and stress reduction through mindfulness. The cranes inspire smiles which is a positive symptom of well-being.

Share a few smiles at our annual Art HOPE 1000 Healing Cranes Community Origami Gathering at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art on Sunday, October 19th,10:00 to 4:00. Join volunteer origami artists at this beautiful seaside venue and learn classic folding techniques in the spirit of health and well-being. This project is part of the Art HOPE Youth Service in Health Care Program and our student volunteers are already folding 1000 cranes that will benefit York Hospital Oncology Care and community members living with cancer. I am proud of our young origami mentors who have learned to fold and are now using that skill to make art and teach others to make art. In one of our first Art HOPE workshops a 4-H teen volunteer taught the class how to fold a paper crane. A friend who was there made her first crane, and has since endeavored to make 1000 of her own numbered, loved-filled cranes that she gives to others in our community. She almost has her flock complete and will fold her 1000th crane at our origami gathering. It will be an day of art, hope, wellness wishes, and magic by the sea.

Head, Hands, Heart, Health: Learn by Doing in 4-H

4-H Happy Art

Art HOPE “Happy Art” created by 4-H volunteers

Art HOPE is proud to announce we have a 4-H Club, and are part of the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, reaching more than 6 million 4-H youth in urban neighborhoods, suburban schoolyards and rural farming communities. For over 100 years 4-H programs have engaged young people in hands-on learning activities that help them reach their full potential, working in their communities with peers and adult mentors. The 4-H motto is to “make the best, better” and members pledge, “my HEAD to clearer thinking, my HEART to greater loyalty, my HANDS to larger service, and my HEALTH to better living, for my club, my community and my world.” These values inspire how 4-H’ers learn by doing, supported by university-backed curriculum and our nation’s Cooperative Extension System in the areas of science, healthy living, and sustainability.

In 2005 Art HOPE first developed a youth service learning collaboration with the York County 4-H, launching our “Happy Art” project and an origami curriculum which became a model for the “Taking Flight” program being launched at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital this fall. The Art HOPE Youth Service in Healthcare Program in partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension York County 4-H is on-going, with educational outreach at area schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and community-based events. Continue Reading →

Celebrate Community Arts

Sea Water Studio Group

Creating and sharing art together

Expressive arts in our local community connect us with others through creative experience. Natural locations, institutions and familiar surroundings can be venues for art making, art taking and art giving. We can make art in community at classes or workshops and with organized groups that focus on our creative interests. We can take art in community at events or performances that feature visual, theatrical, musical or narrative mediums. We can give art in community through supporting local arts projects and by volunteering for creative causes to help others.

When I think of community arts the late, great Pete Seeger comes to mind, and my mental radio can hear and see him teaching uplifting rounds of “if I had a hammer”. The musician activist believed in the power of music to bring people together and was a master of facilitating the creative voice of the individual in harmony with the collective. Continue Reading →