Self-expression Reigns at the smART Girls Art Camp
My Legacy Grant gave me the opportunity to facilitate a weeklong art camp for girls—smART Girls Art Camp—at the Washington School for Girls, a Jesuit school in Washington, D.C. The girls were fourth- through sixth-graders, and all of them come from low-income minority families. This creative exposure gave them an opportunity to express themselves and discover their talents in a way that probably wouldn’t happen at home.
The girls looked forward to class every day, constantly asking what the next project would be and how we came up with these ideas. Not only did they begin to feel more comfortable and become more expressive around us, but they also grew individually through each day’s craft. They turned each project into an individualized reflection of their own unique talents and personalities.
Exposure to art has been proven to help at-risk youth in terms of academics, career goals, and civic engagement. As a proponent of the Jesuit mission in my own life, I believe that everyone deserves an equal chance to fulfill his or her education, passions, and career.
From the relationships I made that week, I learned just as much about the girls’ strengths, hopes, passions, and concerns as they did about multi-media art. I believe that the act of serving others requires one to be in solidarity with others, creating an experience of mutual giving in order to foster community and human understanding.
Although the girls’ backgrounds are completely different than mine, the differences dissipated when we were brought together through art and friendship. The smART Girls Art Camp truly was a genuine experience of living the Jesuit mission to be men and women for others, and it would not have been possible without the Legacy Grant.
—Abigail Kilcullen '17