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Continued from page 12.
The Global Art Initiative
Left to right: John Paul Joseph; Students from Faith Academy Junior High School.
Laurie Berg, Samantha Melvin, and Fred Sorrells
InFebruary2009,threefriendsin asmalltowncametogetherto artworktobenefithandicappedart- supportthevisionofendingthe istsglobally.Ourhopeisthatthrough theirexperiencewithGAIN,people
on education and the sale of original
poverty cycle for disabled artists
young and old will take compassion-
in the Third World. Dr. Fred Sorrells
ate action and become donors in the
had traveled to Haiti as part of his
larger shared humanitarian project.
initiative to form Paralympics sport
teams in countries that have often
neglected disabled members of their
community. There, he came upon
In Haiti, Dr. Sorrells met John Paul
different artists who needed support,
Joseph and Herold Alvares, who are
and he saw the opportunity to create a
both missing arms and legs due to
special initiative called the Global Art
congenital birth defects. They showed
him the incredible artwork they had
With passion for
art and compassion
severephysi-for humanity, GAIN these artists, young artists callimitations.
have gained a greater
itself with artists
we can all learn
understanding of ability,
from Haiti and
from John Paul and
mobility, and tolerance.
Kenya. Its mission
is to break the cycle
The lessons tie
in with character education, global
of poverty for disabled artists in Third
awareness, and empathy. How are we
World countries while raising the
different from one another? How are
status of the disabled in the emerging
we the same? These questions arise
world within the next generation. It
no matter our heritage, our origin, or
is a nonprofit organization focused
12 February 2010 SchoolArts
physical well-being. When children
see someone who is physically challenged, their lack of understanding of
that disability can breed intolerance
and neglect. Part of the awareness-raising initiative is to break down the
cycle of neglect and create appreciation for the gifts of individuals.
As artists, teachers, and especially as art educators, we work hard
to break down social injustices in
society through art and discussion.
By sharing the gifts of these artists,
young artists have gained a greater
understanding of ability, mobility and
tolerance. The Global Crutch Project
was created to do just that.
The Global Crutch Project
The Global Crutch Project targets
polio victims and others in need of
mobility. GAIN collects donated
crutches and students turn them into
artworks of love by decorating them
with permanent markers. Imagine
children’s artwork created with loving
care walking the streets of the emerg-
Continued on page 49.
ing world. The painted crutches are col-
lected and sent by the hundreds to countries
such as Haiti. Included in the stacks will be
unpainted crutches that children in Haiti
will paint for their handicapped community
members. Each set of crutches changes the
life of an individual, providing him or her
with freedom of mobility and thus, opportu-
nity. Children’s groups such as the Boys and
Girls Club participate, as well as schools and
service groups. It’s easy to get involved and
your classrooms will not only be recycling
unwanted crutches, but will also be provid-
ing beautiful mobility to people in need.
We welcome your thoughts and participation in GAIN and the Global
Crutch Project. Please visit www.globalartinitiative.org for information
about how you and your school can be a part of this important work.
Laurie Berg is an art teacher at Faith Academy of Marble Falls, Texas.
Samantha Melvin is an art teacher at R. J. Richey Elementary School in Burnet,
Dr. Fred Sorrells is a champion for people with disabilities worldwide.
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12/31/09 10:34: 38 AM