We learned early in our work that art, music, poetry and theater are powerful healing tools for traumatized children. An otherwise non-responsive child may be able to draw, mold, paint, write, or dramatize what he cannot speak about himself. We’ve also noticed that artistic gifts are often enhanced in abused children, and that their works can be stunningly beautiful. Even when the story is tragic, the painting, poem, or song can inspire and transform.
In 1995, recognizing our work with children in the arts, five Texas Foundations combined to build a 12,000 square-foot complex where artists and children could work together in whatever medium worked best for a particular child. It houses a blackbox theater, a costume and sewing annex, a digital recording studio, a three-camera video editing suite, voice and music practice rooms, dance performance spaces, an art gallery, and a whole wing for painting, sculpture, and graphic arts.
According to Director of Fine Arts Carol Priour, “The Arts program reinforces HCYR’s objective to find each child’s gifts – whether academic, athletic, vocational, or artistic – and help the child amplify them, combining growth and healing in the same process. We watch for those things a child does well, and for those interests that endure, working on healing whenever possible, and seeking conditions that spark motivation. It appears to us that motivation, learning, and healing are all aspects of the same positive life force.”