TUCSON — Thousands of children seeking asylum have taken shelter at the Benedictine Monastery this year. The journey to the United States can take a mental and emotional toll, especially for the children involved.
Volunteers at the shelter have been using art to help those children.
The kids have made thousands of pieces, and several volunteers and community leaders decided their artwork should be showcased to the public.
The exhibit is hosted by Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik, and sponsored by the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, along with Casa Alitas. It showcases more than 500 pieces of work.
“The children and the families are sharing the things that they have loved and lost,” said Teresa Cavendish, Director of Operations for Casa Alitas. “The things that they went through and what they hope to find here in the United States.”
The temporary art exhibit, called Hope and Healing: The Art of Asylum at the Monastery, is being held at the Tucson City Council Ward 6 office located at 3202 E. 1st Street. It’s open to the public from now until August 31st, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The journey hasn’t been easy, as several pieces of art show.
“That talks about a five-year-old who witnessed someone that they loved in their home being murdered,” Cavendish said of one drawing on display. “And fled with their family to the United States for safety.”
The exhibit also features literature. One poem read:
“The sound I will remember in the jail. The sound of aluminum sheets.Every time someone moved it sounded like a storm.”
“It says a lot about the world she was living in,” said Cavendish. “It was very stormy, very chaotic.”
Officials said art classes held at the Benedictine Monastery give the children a place to let it all go, and work on hope and healing.
“When the kids come in you can see the visible signs of relief,” said Casa Alitas Volunteer Art Coordinator, Valarie James. “Here’s the space where I can just be a kid.”
For more information on Casa Alitas, click here.