Expressing ourselves through the arts can be a powerful experience – whether it’s through music, painting, dance, poetry, acting or another art form.
At Great Circle, the expressive arts become a powerful type of therapy for the children and families we serve – boosting self-confidence, developing inner strengths, and uncovering hidden talents. The arts also are a tool to explore deep emotions, or share painful or joyous memories.
Expressive arts are incorporated into our educational curriculum, and our after-school and on-site treatment programs. By developing partnerships and collaborations with several arts-focused organizations, we connect our children with practicing professionals. For instance, our children create sculpture shoulder-to-shoulder with other community artists, work with Webster University theatre students to develop improvisational skills, and learn about body movement from dancers.
“It’s amazing how the expressive arts can help children open up,” says Matt McGaughey, Great Circle’s director of expressive arts. “Our drum circles become a great way for a child with limited motor skills to express himself. By creating a sculpture, a non-verbal child can express her feelings about trauma.”
He adds, “When our kids discover their inner strengths, they see themselves in a more positive light. It’s a way to give them the confidence to handle their personal challenges AND to be the best person they can be.”