November’s Teen Club activities focused on getting creative! There were several different projects going on simultaneously. Half of the teens worked on a canvas painting project for the Jack Meier Gallery in Houston, Texas. The project was proposed and generously sponsored by Michael Chmiel, the gallery’s owner. The completed paintings have been shipped to Houston where they will be featured in an auction held by Mr. Chmiel; some of the proceeds from the auction will go towards building the Botswana Baylor Adolescent Centre! Not only did the teens learn how to be creative and express their feelings through art, but they also became directly involved in raising money to build their own Adolescent Centre. For the paintings themselves, Mr. Chmiel encouraged the teens to be creative, to paint anything they wanted, from very abstract splotches of color to more concrete images. The only rule: they had to cover the entire canvas with paint; no white space allowed! At first, many teens were hesitant to splash paint on a blank canvas, but with the help of our excellent volunteers and a local professional artist, the teens warmed up to the idea. The paintings ranged from abstract patterns to very detailed cars to paintings reflecting their experiences in life. It was quite a sight to see all the beautiful, colorful paintings lined up on a log in the sun and on the bushes to dry!
Other teens took part in creating a World AIDS Day banner that will be displayed at the COE every year on December 1st. This year’s World AIDS Day theme is “Getting to Zero” (for more information visit: WorldAIDSCampaign), though the banner did not focus on this specific theme as we want to be able to display the banner for many years to come. This year’s theme, however, is very special as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the first recorded case of AIDS back in 1981. The banner was a way to allow the teens to reflect on World AIDS Day and the importance of raising awareness.
Finally, some teens learned how to crochet on potato sacks. This type of artwork can be found all over Botswana and is a very creative way to use material that would have otherwise been thrown away. The resulting designs were colorful, fun and environmentally sustainable.
Toward the end of the day, the Teen Club Coordinator took some of the older teens aside to discuss relationship, abuse and gender issues that they were encouraged to keep in mind as they left for the Christmas holidays.
Overall, Teen Club Arts and Crafts day was a wonderful success! The teens were able to take part in activities that many of them had not experienced before and became directly involved in raising money for their future Adolescent Centre. We also discovered some natural artists during the day’s activities! The teens seemed to really enjoy themselves, chatting away with each other throughout the morning. They also learned to work together and communicate to share paintbrushes and paint and in coming up with a cohesive theme for the World AIDS Day banner.
On behalf of our teens, we would like to send a big thank you to Michael Chmiel and the Jack Meier Gallery for the tremendous support!