Peer support groups are networks of individuals who have similar lived experiences that come together to support and uplift each other. Surviving domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking can leave a victim feeling isolated, anxious, and traumatized. One way Beacon Center is working to combat this loneliness is by hosting art workshops. Advocates Bryn Leddy and Heather Sorensen held their first meeting in our conference room with clients to paint “Leaf Splatter Art”.
The idea was born from our appreciation of the arts and our aspirations to connect our clients with their peers in order to foster a better sense of community. Adding the element of artistic creation combines the support of a small community with the expression of art. Our group is non-judgemental, one of our rules is to allow yourself to learn. Art can be difficult and overly technical at times but when you allow yourself to try, just for a moment, you can create something beautiful.
In preparation we collected and pressed local leaves and asked the community to donate supplies: paint, paper, brushes, and frames. We’re incredibly thankful to have a network of donors who care about each and every survivor. The clients had the opportunity to choose what they wanted to make on their own after a short demo. The goal was to make a silhouette using the leaves and splattered paint. You’ll see a few of the pieces had handprints added to them, this was not instructed but ended up blossoming into something we all loved. The clients all started by placing their arrangements and testing the splatter techniques on the side or just going for it in some cases! A client used some paint like lotion on their palms and placed them over the leaves, it was simple, but so beautiful. One client was hesitant to try the leaf project so we gave them a coloring book to create alongside us, but after seeing the handprints, they decided to join in on the painting! Then another client had to stop their process and restart so they could do something around their handprint.
It was interesting to see the color choices and patterns that ended up forming with the leaves; and how a small idea like handprints could have such a profound effect on the whole group. We chatted about choosing colors based on our favorite sports teams, ate a few snacks, and learned about patience and relaxation. We plan on hosting workshops on Saturdays, so keep an eye out on our social media for the calendar of events. If you are interested in donating materials to use for our next class or if you are interested in volunteering to teach a workshop you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.