Road to Resilience
Through a partnership between Free Arts and Youth Development Institute, Road to Resilience brought together seven teenagers and teaching artist, Christy Puetz, to explore, through art, their individual journeys confronting and adapting to adversity and building resilience. Using mixed media techniques throughout the series, each participate created a personal game board reflecting this journey. Participants also collaborated with their families to put the finishing touches on their art pieces.
Garrick, age 15
The imagery in this piece represents disorder, like when good and bad memories come together, and it’s hard to tell them apart. This is also represented in the way you play my game – there is one way to play or read the game. I want this piece to show that in life you’re always going to run into something crazy or weird, whether bad or good.
Making art helps take my mind off anything that’s bothering me. I use art in my free time to relax, especially when creating anything 3-D where I am able to build something. Being a part of this series also helped me work on my social skills.
I’m proud of my athleticism and love to play football. I want to play professionally one day and will focus on that dream when I’m able to return to school. My dream is to play for the Patriots.
Josh, age 17
I had a negative past and want to make better choices for myself. I was born in the Ukraine and then I got adopted and moved to England. After that I moved to Florida. I’ve visited almost every state and am writing a book about my experience and journey. I am proud of overcoming my past and making people smile.
Making this artwork made me feel happy. I used it as a stress reliever and it kept me out of trouble.
Once completed, the game was very fun to play. The Free Arts staff and YDI staff are amazing to be with. They were very kind and helpful.
Matthew, age 12
Monopoly inspired my idea for this piece. I wanted to make something that pops and represents me. The vibrant colors represent the chaos I have overcome and the paint colors remind me of the ocean, which I love. The colors are also calming to me, which is something I strive to be. My hand being on the piece represents me as a person.
Creating this artwork was fun and took my mind off the negative. I’m proud of being able to transfer ideas from my mind to paper, and I’m proud of my quick coloring skills. I take pride in my artwork and like this piece because I made it, and the process was fun. I felt happy throughout this series.
Max, age 16
My piece was inspired by Arizona because it’s the state I grew up in. The image in the middle is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Arizona. The native face represents the native people I got to hang out with in high school. With them, out on the reservation, life seems quieter, simpler. We would just chill – watch the sunset, and family gatherings were a really big thing. These things really meant a lot to me so I wanted to represent them in my piece.
I enjoyed getting to experience new mediums while creating this piece. Making art helped me calm down, relax and feel happy. I liked being able to work on my drawing skills and keep a sketchbook with my art because I love it. I’m proud of my drawing abilities and hope to pursue it in college.
Richard, age 17
For this piece, I was inspired by how everything is really complicated, but really simple at the same time. I liked drawing the details on this and found it relaxing. I don’t know for sure where the specific imagery came from, it just came out of my imagination.
Aside from drawing, I love to run in order to clear my mind.
Bobby, age 17
Life moves in all directions and it isn’t always easy, so do with it what you can. This inspired me to create my game board and represent the chaos of life. In my opinion, life is vibrant and full of color.
Creating this piece made me think deeply and also opened my mind to the happier sides of life. I felt relaxed as I worked, and I’m proud of starting something and not stopping until I’m finished. This experience was good and helped me open up with my family.