Over several weeks during the spring and summer of 2015, I saw a group of high school students from Puerto Rico embrace Van Gogh’s message. But instead of painting, they acted. Not one of them had any previous training or experience. They had no money for costumes, props, or sets. All they had was some inspiration from a book they had read in their AP English class, a talented young director, and an enthusiastic cast. Meeting several days after school, early mornings in the summer (I’m talking really early, like 6 am) they created art: a theatrical trailer for the young adult book DANTE’S KISS. The result is what some might call “Transformative Art.”
According to the experts, Transformative Art uses creativity and art to create a shift in the way an individual or a community views and experiences an issue or themselves. I am not a counselor or therapist, but I am a story teller and the story I see in these before and after pictures of the young actors who wrote, performed, and produced “Dante’s Kiss, the Trailer” is like a coming-of-age tale. Formerly shy young people find their confidence and their esteem through the characters they assume.
Has art either inspired or transformed you? If so, share your story.