|Chris Taylor in front of "Map Monster" by Krissi Schott (left) and his own aboriginal art piece.|
That's what happened to me today when I visited the Hozhoni Art Gallery, and got to see their exuberant show "Drawing a map from you to me and all points in-between." The Hozhoni Foundation provides individualized services for people with developmental disabilities. The artists have shown in places such as Brandy's, Sundara, and the NAU Beasley Art Gallery, and it's no secret that they produce surprising, endearing, and happy (yet complicated) pieces of art. In fact, I have a piece of art from a Hozhoni artist hanging in a prime spot in my house.
|"Head South, Killer Whale" by Martin Ortiz.|
"This is a way for them to tell their stories," Chris said. "If we slow down and look at their pieces, we'll see that this is some of the best art being made in Flagstaff. It's so immediate and with such an honesty that you can't ignore it."
The Hozhoni workshop experience was a good one for Chris and the Art Education students. He wanted students to experience more diversity in mental ability, and found that once the NAU students came to Hozhoni, they were hooked. Some got school credit for their hours, but others simply volunteered.
Indeed, there was something refreshing about visiting the studio. The artists were so proud of their art. They didn't seem to suffer from egotism or lack of self-confidence. And their hearts were so open to visitors!
"They're not too cool-for-school," said Chris. "And that's what makes them cool!"
The Hozhoni therapeutic art program has been running since 1995 by Terri Engel (who was recently nominated for a 2012 Viola Leadership Award.) According to the nomination letter, individuals really blossomed with the program, exemplified by a dramatic decrease in socially unacceptable behaviors and a significant increase in communication skills, self-esteem and increased independence.
But all Terri wants to talk about is how the program is growing. They have added an "expressive arts" aspect to it, which includes film-making, drama, movement and dance, and it has added another element of self-expression to the artists lives. Check out their recent film here.
|Billy Sue Dagenhart says |
"Be good but don't get into trouble!"
Hozhoni Art Gallery is located at 2133 N. Walgreens St. and is open Mon. - Fri. from 8:30 - 3:30 p.m. and Sat. from 10 - 4 p.m. The art is for sale, at very reasonable prices. This current show is up until June 30, so you better hurry!
|My portrait by "Eddie Eddie Edward" Haswood.|