Over 60 students explore art as self-expression
Kingston, Jamaica: Forty-five young people from St. Ann were immersed in a two-week programme that included art, music and dance at the annual Orange Hall Summer School event, courtesy of the CB Facey Foundation (CBFF).
The programme allowed the students, aged four to 18, access to paints, crayons, charcoal, music and pickings from nature. With the themes ‘Rise Up’ and ‘Our Sacred Body’, the students were asked to express their feelings, concerns and experiences on this very personal and sensitive subject.
In 2016, their theme had been Radiant Earth — the macrocosm. This year, they were being asked to explore the microcosm — how each could take action and help to create a Radiant Earth.
Laura Facey Cooper, organiser of the Orange Hall Summer Camp admiring the self-portraits created using geometric shapes and bright colours to represent the positivity and kindness that can radiate through the campers.
Head teacher, Mellessa Hudson — who herself attended Orange Hall Summer Schools from the age of seven — shared that this year’s camp was guided by the children. “We had more input from the campers. They were vocal and did not hold back during discussions,” she said. Ms Hudson, 37, and whose area of expertise is literacy, explained that the children were broken into groups and led by five counsellors.
The children were encouraged to do poetry, self-portraits, paper weaving, prints, art from found objects and still-life drawings while exploring ‘Our Sacred Body’ and how they could ‘Rise Up’.
On Thursday, July 27, the end of the camp was celebrated with a final presentation of their poetry, art, and dance. Many parents and friends who attended the event were moved to tears by the intensity, scope and beauty of the work presented.
First-time camp counsellor and art teacher at Boys’ Town Infant and Primary School, Alwain Reid, helped to direct the different art mediums that were used. Mr Reid was excited by the Summer School and felt it was 100 per cent successful.
From left: Orange Hall Summer School camp counsellors Delona Davis, Kirkland Anderson, Bridgette Small, Mellessa Hudson, Javian Saunders, Venessa Williams and Alwain Reid stop for a photo during the final presentation of the art camp on Thursday, July 27.
The Orange Hall Summer School was the second interaction that CBFF facilitated this summer.
In late June, Camp Ignition — a week-long behavioural intervention session — hosted 16 students from Boys’ Town Infant and Primary School at New Generation Camp in Happy Hills, St. Ann.
“Camp Ignition was necessary as there are a lot of negatives to which the kids are exposed. We needed to take them out of their usual space and it was great for them to be in a positive environment,” explained Reid, who also led the art sessions at Camp Ignition.
Dr. Christine Stennett (second left) guidance counsellor at Boys’ Town Infant and Primary School, and director of Camp Ignition, with campers (from left), Omarie Fearon, Justin Stennett, Denique Anderson, Karema Morgan, Jimair Lynch (in the back), Teara Gapour.
“Camp Ignition was birthed out of the need to provide a therapeutic environment for students who are experiencing socio-academic challenges due to a number of variables,” noted Dr. Christine Stennett, guidance counsellor at Boys’ Town Infant and Primary School, and director of Camp Ignition.
She added: “It provided the means by which the students were able to access the services of a number of Jamaica’s leading child development practitioners who volunteered their time to focus on academic and behavioural transformation. As the name of the camp denotes, the gist is to ignite the flame of hope and possibility within each child leaving within them the spirit of “I Can!” although the odds are stacked against them.”
Dr. Stennett detailed that the camp offered one-on-one programmes in literacy, numeracy, social graces, psycho-social support and, of course, art to students aged eight to 12.
Camp Ignite camper, grade 5 student Karema Morgan (left), enjoys one-on-one mathematics lesson outdoors with Michele Stewart-Johnson, volunteer counselling and remedial studies teacher at New Generation Camp.
“Camp Ignition bore the desired fruit as the intended purpose was fulfilled and evidence was seen in the marked behavioural change the children displayed. Our qualified counsellors also spoke of their own personal growth, stemming from their interactions with the children,” Dr. Stennett declared. “We look forward to next year.”
The camp was also sponsored by Total Jamaica Ltd, Virgo International, The Ward Family, CariMed, Rubis, and Chukka Caribbean Tours.
About C.B. Facey Foundation
Cecil Boswell Facey Foundation oversees the corporate social responsibility programmes of the PanJam Investment Limited for over 30 years. The Foundation is helping to shape the society by investing in arts and education through relationships the National Gallery of Jamaica, the Boys’ Town Infant and Primary School, and Jamaica Association for the Deaf, et al. The CBFF also invests in the environment, economic growth and business sustainability through continuous projects. More information on the Foundation and its Grant Application process can be found at www.cbfaceyfoundation.org.