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Monday, May 18, 2015

Second Annual Wellness Tzei U'lemad Community Art Show

Thursday, April 30th, was the second annual Wellness Tzei U'lemad Community Art Show held at the Morris Franco Cancer Center celebrating the beauty of change, nature, community, and art. Students at the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School under the guidance of Ms. Robinson worked with the Morris Franco Center to make this event possible.

Every year, every season, every day, and even every single moment - we experience change. Sometimes its so slight that we might not even realize it…a new leaf that grows on a tree, a raindrop that dropped on the hood of your car, a spider that spun its intricate web under the front stoop of your house.

And then other times, the change walks right up to us and smacks us in the face. Sometimes it's good change: the first warm breeze after a harsh winter, the golds, ambers and burgundies that magically paint our neighborhoods in fall, moving into a new house, getting a compliment from a classmate you’ve never spoken to, hearing good news from a Doctor, or getting married and moving to Israel. Change can be good and often times leaves our hearts swelled, in awe, and inspired.

And yet sometimes, the change is not so good: a fallen tree from a harsh storm, an earthquake that leaves an entire people shattered, a report card that puts your intended plans for your whole future at stake, or facing the threat of a new illness. Change can be hard and often times leaves our minds dejected, confused, and in pain.

And yet, what we come to realize is that our only real constant is change and how we can accept and react to it is under our control. At the Community Art Show, we celebrated two crucial tools in doing so: community and art.
The work we made, entitled “Turn, Turn” inspired by the lyrics from the Bird’s hit song in 1965, is a collaborative art work done by the center’s patients and my Wellness students that expresses just that: two communities who worked together to show that no matter what you are going through, there is a commonality that can be established using art as your guide.

Using our four seasons: summer, winter, spring, and fall, as the epitome of the change that we all experience, a few of the patients from the center and the students of Yeshivah of Flatbush came together at Yeshivah of Flatbush to discuss seasons. The workshop created an impetus to create one piece of art together that would represent all the seasons through the base of the stable tree in the middle.

The Students and the patients were then given the same materials, the same number of canvases to decorate, and the same couple of months to do create in their own spaces. Colors were assigned to each season to give the piece a sense of cohesiveness. But as you can tell, the freedom that each student and each patient had with each canvas was unbounded. As we decorated each canvas, without an idea of what the whole would look like (as is often the case with life), our artists listened to music, shared stories, and found a form of therapy and education through the artistic materials at their fingertips.

When the pieces were put together, Dayna and I stood back and tried to find the tree that would emerge from the canvases. While often hard to see at different angles, we think that this only rings true to the real power of the piece as well. Through all the change that life throws at us, if we focus in and really try to see the tree, you might just be able to. And yet, there will be times that you just cant, but the pure faith and belief that it is there will be enough to allow you to just enjoy its colors, the unity that was established through it, the support of everyone here, and lastly - the power and beauty of change.
~Ms. Robinson