May 21, 2021
Coping with disaster through creativity

We have been dealt a severe blow! We witnessed the violent eruption of La Soufriere. This tragic disaster has unsettled us and caused much stress.  People were moved into shelters, our normal way of living was severely disrupted.

Yet we have all had to continue and somehow cope with the reality of it all. Already, we have started the long and difficult road to recovery.

We are left struggling trying to cope with the day to day.

We ask ourselves, how do we cope? What are the mechanisms for coping?

Being creative is a coping mechanism. Creativity promotes coping skills during these stressful times. Being creative can take many forms.  The arts, whether it’s the visual, literary or performing arts, offer pathways to being creative.

Engaging in art making allows us the opportunity to express ourselves. It gives us permission to bring our feelings out into the open. It is one way of saying I am alive, I can think and create, I can make something new!

After the first eruption, it was interesting to note that art teachers who had worked with Youlou Arts Foundation reached out to the arts organisation and requested art supplies for the children in the shelters.

Instinctively they realised the stressfulness of the situation and felt compelled to use art making as a means to start the healing process.

They saw the need to give the children an opportunity to be creative, motivated and active during their stay in the shelters, allowing the children the opportunity to thrive and flourish.

To date Youlou Arts Foundation has responded to the disaster by donating art supplies to the children in shelters at the  Buccament Government School, the Calliaqua Government School, the Girls High School and the Central Leeward Secondary at Peter’s Hope, where at that location the Counselling Department is offering a programme titled “Back To Happiness”.

Currently, Youlou Arts Foundation has hired an art instructor to provide art activities to children at the shelters around the area of the Thomas Saunders Secondary School. The schools targeted are: the Kingstown Preparatory School, CW Prescott Primary School, the Girls High School, and the St Vincent Grammar School.

The plan is to create murals and other fun art activities.

Youlou Arts Foundation will assemble and distribute individual art kits to the children in shelters.

The Youlou Arts Foundation was established by the St. Vincent artist, Camille Saunders Musser in 2000.

YAF is a non-profit, non-governmental organization created to develop, promote and preserve the arts and culture of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Youlou Arts believes, giving these children the opportunity to express themselves through art making activities would be a bright spot