Forget the costumes. Trash the candy. For me, Halloween can celebrate so much more.
Every year, this holiday blows my mind. Not because little ones get to dress up in insanely cute costumes — or because I get permission to consume ungodly amounts of chocolate — but for the jolt of joy I experience when we paint pumpkins in South Central Los Angeles.
Our non-profit organization, Hope’s Nest, sponsors holiday art workshops in LA city parks every year. Our volunteers never know how many kids will show up, but they always surprise us with uber creative ways of making their orangey-golden globes come to life. This weekend, we saw a couple hundred earnest artists enrobe their round “organic canvases” with layers and layers of color, collage, and creativity. I swear, this never gets old. We are looking at our 29th year of service in 2018.
Scroll down to check out the work. Some are unabashed abstracts, others more like science experiments. But in every case, they are making art from their hearts, and no one ever wants to go home. Few of these children say they have art programs in their schools, so we see why they respond so readily to the opportunity to express themselves so fearlessly here. One Guggenheim comprehensive educational study reveals that children exposed to consistent arts programs show signs of improved literacy, and better behavior.
So just maybe we can start serving a healthy helping of acrylic paint with our Kit Kat bars this time next year?
Thank you to Benita, Donielle and staff at the Van Ness Recreation Center.