April 14, 2018 is International Slow Art Day – an ideal time to find out more about the concept and how it underpins our child-led arts and community development programs Kids as Catalyst, KiCArts and KIND.
The Slow Art movement is about observing and making art over a longer period of time and building skills while immersing oneself in an art-making experience. For some, it is about viewing art slowly and in a more contemplative way – not rushing past a visual offering or experience.
For Kids Thrive, Slow Art is a creative framework for working in social innovation and community cultural development. The concept has been developed over 20 years by Creative Directors Andrea Rieniets and Dr Andrea Lemon. It is a capacity-building cycle for children and vulnerable communities which can involve many different arts practices, and applies a performance framework to all forms of creative learning, with the ultimate aim of driving personal and social change.
All types of art practices.
Kids Thrive uses ancient cultural tools of music, movement, singing, visual arts, storytelling, theatre and humour within the Slow Art cycle to “switch kids on” to learning and leading change from a calm, safe place.
The Slow Art cycle works by embedding programs in communities for 3-5 years, and delivering gentle, repeated cycles of engagement, learning, creation, presentation, celebration and reflection. It invites children and communities into a collective commitment beyond the ordinary – to create a vision for personal and social change.
This action-based, creative and physical learning helps children grow confidence in their seven senses; sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, organic (the external and internal body) and kinaesthetic (motion, relation to the world around them). It also builds their community connections, and self-regulation as they learn to not retreat when faced with change or unpredictability.
When young children are immersed in creative experiences that engage them physically, emotionally and cognitively, they grow their capacity to understand the world and their place within it.
Engaging in creative practices opens learning pathways in the brain; transforms education and classroom engagement; builds social and emotional wellbeing, empathy and tolerance; and brings a calmness to the learning environment which helps children cope with the effects of violence, disadvantage and trauma.
The Slow Art cycle enriches local communities through repeated practices, and regular, safe communal gatherings, using creativity to involve vulnerable children and communities in positive collective experiences.
It has been proven to be highly successful in supporting vulnerable children and communities to succeed by slowly building skills, interest, trust, confidence and investment over an extended period of time.
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