When Deborah Blake saw the effect of her project on participants in a downtown treatment program, the volunteer art teacher knew she was on to something. In came the idea for Path With Art, which hires local teachers to lead workshops in different media at housing projects or charities throughout the city.
As they teach subjects ranging from poetry to pottery, the teachers encourage students to explore and share their personal stories; their work culminates in a public viewing like the one that took place in Occidental Park last month. Twenty-five workshops are planned for next year, and the eventual goal is to have a studio where participants in the one-time programs can become continuing students.
Blake, who had studied art history but never taught before her volunteer gig, shares the students' taste for co-creation. "Really, my art background is I enjoy it the most when I do it with other people," she says. The workshops are helping students "learn from each other in a way that they hadn't had access to before."