The ways in which art develops children's mental and emotional health are as varied as the colors of a rainbow. Creating art helps develop imagination, critical thinking, problem-solving ability, and social skills, among many other benefits.
For Bob Nash, executive director of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth, the positive outcomes are obvious: he saw them firsthand at the center's Art Day Camps last summer. When the Cultural Center received a grant for five scholarships for children to participate in the camp, he was delighted. "They were kids who otherwise wouldn't have been able to attend," Nash says.
The scholarships, from the Foundation's Carolyn Van Vleck Pratt Fund for the Arts, allowed the youngsters, ages 6 to 13, to attend three one-week camp sessions, where the only pressure was deciding what colors to swirl on paper or which beautiful stone to hang onto a necklace. At the end of the week, families and friends were invited to a reception in the Center's great hall, a majestic example of Greek revival architecture and a piece of art in itself.
One grandmother wrote a note of thanks for the scholarships that allowed her 10-year-old twin granddaughters to attend. The woman had been laid off from her job and couldn't afford camp tuition. "The girls enjoyed three weeks of photography, scrapbooking, and arts and crafts," she writes. "They really learned a lot and were really happy and excited to attend." Her struggling family could not have managed it on their own, her note adds.
Nash is happy to see evidence of the good that comes from a partnership between the Cultural Center and the Cape Cod Foundation. "Supporting the community, especially kids at risk, is more important than making money," Nash says. "We sincerely appreciate the Foundation's help."