MCC-Maple Woods artists give inner city students HOPE

Life as seen through the eyes of a middle-schooler might be considered tumultuous, frenetic, confusing in the gap between childhood and the uncertainty of adolescence on the horizon. But it is also colorful, full of light, simple and complex, eloquent at times.

Students from the Scuola Vita Nuova Charter School in northeast Kansas City recently had their poetry translated into art as part of the HOPE Art Project (Healing Our Children Through Poetic Expressions and Art). The HOPE Art Project aims to help children express deep emotions through writing, enhance their literacy skills, and make meaningful connections with their community. Teachers are given professional development on how to best promote literacy and engagement, and children are exposed to various forms of literature and writing to help build vocabulary and promote self-expression. Community leaders visit with students in the classroom.

At the conclusion of the unit, the children’s writings are given to local artists to interpret into some form of artwork. The culminating event is an art and poetry show that serves as a fundraiser for the project and the school. The theme for this year’s HOPE Art Project was America, with students focusing on the works of authors such as Sandra Cisneros, Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman and Gary Soto.

MCC-Maple Woods arts students created the works of art, from sculpture to paintings, and displayed them alongside their young muses at an exhibition at Studio B March 29.