Art Feeds helps local kids heal through art therapy

After the May 22 tornado, local organization Art Feeds increased its programs and therapeutic art in elementary schools for the children of Joplin.

“The needs of the children of the Joplin community have definitely changed, but Art Feeds has continued to do what it has always done, meet children where they are so they can express themselves,” Meg Bourne, founder and executive director of Art Feeds said.

Art Feeds has helped the children of Joplin move past the tornado by allowing them to express themselves through art, music and dance.

“I think this has been imperative in the healing process for our little ones and fulfilling their emotional needs,” Bourne said.

“They are the future of Joplin. How they overcome this trauma is bigger than any structure in Joplin being rebuilt,” Bourne said.

 Art Feeds works with children in Joplin on a weekly basis and also offers weekend workshops and partnerships with children’s organizations when schools aren’t in session.

“We have had a huge influx of growth with our numbers, growing from 400 children weekly in Joplin to now 1,300 children,” Bourne said.

“A lot has changed and we are working hard to make our programs more efficient, more impactful and better than ever.”

Along with an increase in numbers, there has been an increase of support from the community for the Art Feeds programs.

“There has been a tremendous outpouring of support concerning time and money given because the importance of our programs is more relevant than ever,” Bourne said. “Restore Joplin recently gave a $11,000 donation to Art Feeds because they believe our programs are helping in the long-term recovery of Joplin by creating an expressive outlet for children to move past the trauma they have faced.”

Bourne says people are continuously contacting her from across the nations “looking to support our program with their time, talents and monetary donations.”  

“We have a lot of love for the kids, and the kids love our programs,” Bourne said. “Their response has been great because they have an avenue of expression and are learning new coping mechanisms through art without even realizing it.”

According to Bourne, it’s Art Feeds’ goal to be in every Joplin elementary school by the beginning of the 2012 school year, which would bring programs to approximately 3,500 students.

They also plan to mobilize their programs to other communities as well.

“Our aim is to mobilize creative healing and encourage creative development,” Bourne said. “With those two dynamics we hope to bring Art Feeds into new communities where our programs can create an impact.”

“We have focused on life after the tornado, but I am certain that our program model and innovative curriculum can thrive in other communities. We hope to have a building in the near future where are students can continue their creative education after school and on weekends, this is all a part of building Joplin better than ever,” Bourne said.

For more information on what Art Feeds has been doing since the tornado,  visit