Children use art to define their rights

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More than three dozen young artists, ages 2-18, gathered for an artists’ reception at Featherstone Center for the Arts on April 7. Parents, teachers, and other advocates were there to view the exhibit titled The Rights of Children, a collaboration by Garden Gate Child Development Center and the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School. The exhibit was funded in part by a grant from the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council, according to a press release from Garden Gate. The voices of the children were expressed in drawing, collage, painting, paper craft, sculpture, poetry and storytelling.

A striking mobile, in the center of the gallery, was hung with brightly colored paper, illustrating the hopes of children from the Charter School and Garden Gate. A compelling display of birds over a collection of roadside trash expressed the children’s desire to live in a clean environment. A festive birthday party filled an entire corner, where children’s views on fairness and friendship could be explored. The exhibit also included an international perspective with children’s work from TNS Beaconhouse School in Lahore, Pakistan.

“The preschoolers and middle school students worked together on body tracing and vegetable prints, and the high school students from the Charter School visited Garden Gate to work on peace symbols with 4 and 5 year olds,” said preschool director Dawn Warner. “It was amazing sharing our classroom and studio spaces and collaborating on this work. Being able to connect the thoughts and ideas of preschoolers and teens is a great reflection of our community’s ability to learn from one another.”

The Rights of Children exhibit will be followed by an Early Childhood Educators’ Retreat in June, exploring ways educators can continue to support the rights of children in their classrooms. Contact Garden Gate Child Development Center for more information about the retreat, including registration information 508-696-9997.