Pablo Picasso learned to paint as a child from his father. Who knew at that time he’d go on to have such a profound effect on the art world? Perhaps the next Picasso or Leonardo da Vinci is at the Rawhide Ranch right now in the school’s art class. Through Starr Academy’s art education classes and the help of art instructor Terri Simpson, many of the Rawhide guys are able to realize their artistic talents, find a new passion, or even heal emotional wounds through expressive art. Here are many ways Rawhide’s art education benefits at-risk youth.

Uncovering Hidden Talent

The classes develop a variety of the guys’ skills such as drawing, painting, composition, design, color, as well as background information on different artists and their styles of work. Projects span two-week periods, allowing the guys adequate time to explore their skills in a relaxed, stress-free environment. If students discover a passion for art, they may take an additional 3-hour art elective that allows them to work together on a 10-week project.

Community Showcasing

Over the years, some projects have been displayed throughout local communities. A piece of art that the guys created is currently displayed at Schneider National in Green Bay. It is a powerful piece created back in 2012, depicting the transformation and changes of guys before and after Rawhide.

One artist even entered his work in an art show at New London High School (shown above)! Classes offer the guys a chance to take a break from their usual academic coursework and explore their creative side.

7 Art Education Benefits In Addition to Beautiful Art

Terri’s main focus is encouraging the individuality to come out of the guys. She believes this helps the guys become aware of who they are and can help fine tune the focus of their projects. Terri’s art classes present unique opportunities for guys to express themselves and allow them to:

  1. Reduce anxiety
  2. Reduce negative stress
  3. Develop social skills
  4. Manage behavior and addictions
  5. Reconcile emotional conflicts
  6. Achieve personal insight
  7. Flex their creative muscles

She’s seen drastic changes in many of the guys from when they first set foot in the classroom to when they leave. “Students gain confidence and become more open to art. Many have not succeeded in the public school art class. Some of the students that have prior experience become more focused on art for the future, whether it be in their next high school, college or a career in art.” The art education benefits above are just some of the ways Rawhide guys benefit from Starr Academy. Guys also have a chance to benefit from:

Art Education Benefits Healing

Our guys often create artwork that reflects their personal journeys and displays their experiences prior to Rawhide, much like many famous artists. The guys use art to explore their pain at its deepest roots, which often opens the door to healing the wounds. Expressive art fosters greater self-knowledge and a deeper understanding of who they truly are.

Stress Buster

Art class also provides guys a nice, relaxing time to try something new. As Terri stated “Art is a hands-on activity, so guys are generally pretty relaxed in my classes. It is a break from the academic, and a chance to explore new materials, techniques and styles.” Guys in the art classes are eager to show off any of the projects they work on. Recently, Terri began collaborating with the Rawhide wood shop. Guys created art for the bottom of skateboards and proceeded to transfer the art onto an actual skateboard. This was a favorite project for many of the guys.

Is Art Your Thing?

If you would like to help art education at Starr Academy continue, please consider making a donation. Your support will fund the transformation of these young men’s lives and provide them with a creative way to heal.