Participants from HRDC’s youth programs worked collaboratively with Canvas Creek Team Building to create artwork for the Alternative Education Center. The materials were acquired through a grant from NorthWestern Energy’s charitable giving program. Youth involved in the Empowering Peers Igniting Change (EPIC) program worked with the theatre department at Rocky Mountain College to build the canvas frames for the artwork. Participants from EPIC along with Youth Employment, Harmony House and Alternative Education all worked together painting and designing the murals.
Karen Grosz and Jane Nelson Krizek of Canvas Creek Team Building helped the youth collaborate on the three 4′ x 6′ canvas murals as part of a team building project. The process began with youth picking three paint colors each and placing them on a table. Participants could then go back and use any of the paint chosen on the project.
Youth were asked to think of one word that described what they were feeling, and to paint the word on the canvas.
The next step was more challenging; they were to paint in total silence.
Participants were encouraged to work together, but all communication had to be non-verbal. They could also add to or paint over other’s contributions to the mural.
The result is unique and personal works of art that will be displayed in the newly redesigned Alternative Education Center. The Center, funded by Western Security Bank’s Hands of Hope and created by designer Amy Lee, is meant to be a more inviting place for students than a traditional classroom. The space is also meant to be used by a cross-section of programs to serve as a place where participants can feel comfortable and welcome.The Alternative Education program is much more than just a place for students of all ages to study for their GED. It is a place for youth and adults to begin believing in themselves and their abilities and transform the lives of people who’ve simply “dropped out” into determined, contributing citizens.