As I indicated in my last post, it has been hard to write. Things seem too bleak, or simply too overwhelming to explain.
At last, I have something to communicate and share with you, that is both simple and hopeful. I have been in Melbourne, Australia for the last two weeks, visiting with friends I haven’t seen in years, and attending the conference of the World Federation of Associations for Teacher Education – WFATE, or World FATE as they like to call it, with good reason.
This conference has been spectacular in many ways, but right now I’m just going to write about one. Today, we went out to the town of Sunshine, in the outskirts of Melbourne. They say it is the most diversified municipality in all Australia. We were there to visit an art gallery.
Gallery owners today often complain that they can’t get young people to come into their galleries and look at the art. The Gallery Sunshine Everywhere puts young people’s art on its walls, so everyone – young and old – can appreciate the work of young artists like Naomi:
This gallery exists anywhere in the town of Sunshine that cares to exhibitNaomi and her friends take part in an after school programme, organised by their mentor, Carmena Borg. The Gallery Sunshine Everywhere is a project directed by Maureen Ryan, that turns any space in Sunshine into an art gallery if they want it. Working together, they professionally framed the young artists’ work and hung it in the town’s Granary Cafe for all to see.
The professional treatment given to these works validates the children’s creativity and helps them see themselves as confident, expressive, creative individuals. The solidarity we witnessed between these children and their parents and neighbours was also quite special. We would like to thank Carmena, Maureen, and especially Naomi and all the other artists taking part in this exhibit for inviting us and treating us with kindness and hospitality.