International Fine Art Fund artist and Board member Hilary White has partnered with Ignite Refuge and Partnership for Strong Families to create the Made New Arts Program. The program provides creative expression for children in the foster care system. Classes are taught by local artists and supplies come from donations. White, who is based in Gainesville, Florida, is teaching art and bringing local artists to work with the kids. She says, “I felt led to begin this program out of my love for kids and the desire to see children who do not have a support system find one through mentorship and regain a vision for themselves and their lives.” Ignite Refuge is a shelter that provides structure for the children through activities and programs in addition to meeting basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. While they are waiting to be adopted or reunited with their families, the kids connect with each other and find support in the community. “So much of what these kids have been through has left them feeling hopeless and beat up. I have been through darkness in my adolescent years and God has restored my life again and again.” White is using creativity as a channel for expression and spiritual restoration. “I want these kids to have hope. Ultimately, I want to connect them to Christ through enabling them to explore their own creativity.” When studying White’s artwork and reading her exhibition statements, it is evident that her drive to start Made New Arts comes from her own experience. Her powerful encounters with God intellectually, spiritually, and in her work space are on display.
Made News Arts has impacted the children at Ignite Refuge. “It’s been so great to see them progress from coming into class and telling me they can’t draw and they don’t want to show me anything, to drawing or painting the entire class to the point where I have to tell them to take a break! They are starting to believe they can do it, and that is a first step in breaking down the lies that have pervaded their lives that they are worthless and incapable.” Working with them has left an impact on White as well. “I love these kids and I am thankful to be a part of what God wants to do in their lives.”
This first installment of the program will culminate in a mural project and gallery show at Gallery Protocol in Gainesville this June. White currently has plans for the program to run year-round.
To learn more about Made New Arts, visit these links:
*images courtesy of Ignite Refuge and Hilary White