This week I had the honor of collaborating with the non-profit organization, Create Now, to teach an after school jewelry workshop to a group of girls at the Anthony Quinn library in East Los Angeles. Now going on it’s 20th year, Create Now is based in downtown Los Angeles, and their mission is to provide art enrichment programs for economically disadvantaged kids.
For the workshop, I created 2 bracelets and 1 necklace for the girls to make. Even though they were going to make the pieces I had pre-designed, I gave them the creative freedom to choose their own charms and substitute beads if they wish.
We ended up having 7 girls, the youngest being 5 and the oldest 12. The workshop was an absolute success and everyone was able to make 2 bracelets (since the workshop was only 1.5 hours we didn't have time for the necklace). They made the pieces on their own, with very little intervention on my part. I demonstrated the steps as many times as they wanted, but I never did it for them. I think this was empowering for the girls because it made them feel independent, and that the jewelry they created was their own. The 5 year old had a bit of difficulty with attaching the clasp with the crimp and pliers (it’s A LOT harder than you think- I wouldn’t expect a 5 year old to do that) but she tried her best and almost was able to on her own.
In the end, this experience was as enriching for me as it was for the girls that showed up. I was incredibly inspired by what they achieved through focus and wanting to create something beautiful. The task I gave them wasn’t very simple, but they did it, and the smile they had on their faces when they came out of the class having completed their creations was absolutely priceless.
Creativity is essential for children to learn and thrive. If you or someone you know is an artist or musician, lives in the LA area and would like to learn about volunteer opportunities, please visit the Create Now website at www.createnow.org