“I Was Here” - Utilizing the Arts to Increase Self-Confidence
Initials are an often-overlooked element of our daily lives, usually utilized quickly in paperwork, as a way of saying, “I’ve seen this,” or “I approve.” Frequently, they might be employed by children in graffiti, or quick carvings into a tree or schooldesk, a shorthand for “I’ve been here.” These are counterintuitively powerful statements–brief but meaningful ways of asserting one’s existence.
Donna Little is well aware of the power of these little pairs of characters, which is why she focused her recent residency at Pathways Adolescent Center on creating works of art that featured them prominently. Pathways is a residential treatment facility in Oil City, PA, which specializes in supporting adolescents with behavior, mental health, and addiction challenges. When planning the residency, William “Bumper” Woods, Pathways’ Director of Education, told Donna he hoped the program would accomplish two things: increase the students’ self-confidence; and equip them with a sense of teamwork.
Donna, a metalsmith who has been a teaching artist with EAC for over twenty years, came up with a project that elegantly met each of these requirements.