Art by Displaced Children at Renaissance Village on view at NOMA
Katrina Through the Eyes of Children: Art by Displaced Children at Renaissance Village will open at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) on August 12, 2007 on the second floor in the P. Roussel Norman and William D. Norman, M.D. Gallery. The exhibition is made up of fifty works: 32 drawings, 11 photographs and 5 three dimensional pieces.
Katrina Through the Eyes of Children is a sampling of the cathartic art that has been created in a collaborative effort between the children who live in Renaissance Village, currently the largest FEMA trailer site in the country, and teams of registered art therapists who have been working with them since October 2005.
Art therapy, as opposed to conventional art classes, is focused on "process" over the creation of a final product and has been a valuable tool in enabling survivors to deal with trauma. The artwork in this exhibition documents not only the loss, anger and depression of these children and their families following Hurricane Katrina, but also expresses the survivors' hopes and dreams for the future. The over-400 children at Renaissance Village have had access to this structured creative therapy while they continue to live in difficult circumstances and conditions.
This work is evidence that art therapy is an effective treatment for reduction in trauma symptoms including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress, as it allows the creator to externalize the trauma in a contained, safe space. The therapy will continue as long as there are children in Renaissance Village and plans are in place to sustain this work in the Gulf Coast region.
The art therapy program which produced these works of art was organized by Sister Judith Brun, CSJ, Executive Director of the Community Initiatives Foundation in Baton Rouge. "These drawings urge us to continue to respond to the children of Katrina as they cope with the lifetime impact of this trauma," said Sister Brun.
Katrina Through the Eyes of Children: Art by Displaced Children at Renaissance Village will be on view August 12, 2007 through October 7, 2007. For more information on the exhibition and the Community Initiatives Foundation , visit: www.katrinaexhibit.org.