For the first time, we are featuring two agencies as they both received artwork from us and are coincidentally in the same building! Both recently moved to different floors at 189 Cambridge Street, a building that is now bursting with 36 new works of art to inspire the youth who access services there.
Adolescent Consultation Services (ACS) has a mission is to provide comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services to court-involved youth and their families. Often, the low-income, high-risk children referred to ACS have been unable to obtain needed services elsewhere. Most youth come from multi-problem families with histories of unattended medical and mental health problems, learning disorders, substance abuse, family violence, and severe economic stressors. Some have required placement outside the home as a result of parental drug involvement, incarceration, or abuse/neglect. ACS seeks to create a therapeutic atmosphere in their office in order to make it a safe place to talk for families referred by the court who are often disoriented and scared. Sometimes the clients are hesitant to talk about their lives as many clients and their family members have a history of trauma and may have a difficult time feeling comfortable. The art now hanging in the entry, waiting area, client interview rooms, conference room, and hallways helps people feel welcome, provides a natural conversation topic for new clients, and creates an overall nurturing feeling in spaces that many otherwise feel impersonal.
Staff have noted that many clients are intrigued by the work and that it has already inspired numerous conversations and peaked interest in learning more about art as a result. They noted that the art donation has improved self esteem/pride of both staff and clients, created a more attractive environment, stimulated dialogue, improved morale, stimulated creativity, and helped build connections in the community with local artists and friends.
Center for Family Connections is an educational and clinical resource center that specializes in the developmental, structural, and systemic issues related to adoption, foster care, kinship, guardianship, as well as the people with whom they are connected, by offering training, education, advocacy, and clinical treatment. They believe that the need to honor connections is an essential part of family life and work to construct, re-construct, refurbish, and renovate families. The art now hanging in the entry, waiting area, meeting room, group room, training room, and hallways to uplift, heal, and inspire those accessing services at the center.
Both agencies held art receptions on the same day to celebrate the new art in the building, but Center for Family Connections took it one step further and offered an art making activity as part of the reception. Children who access services onsite were in attendance and were invited to create artwork inspired by the new donated work now installed on their walls. This allowed the gift of art to continue to permeate through the event and the guests as it translated into new creative process. Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao, executive director at CFFC expressed her delight with the art saying, “These pieces will stretch the minds of the children we work with, and allow them express themselves in ways previously unthought-of. We are grateful to have our walls alive with art, but we are even more grateful because the artists are influencing our young foster and adopted children every day!” (Note: stay tuned for more of Joyce’s reflections in our upcoming Fall printed newsletter in September.)