OMA Pittsburgh’s Art in the Garden invests in the resiliency and social and emotional development of youth. Art in the Garden supports youth in holding themselves and others in compassion and helping them to grow in connectedness to themselves, each other, and the earth.
Art in the Garden has an arts and ecology camp as well as monthly events for youth and families. Our arts and ecology curriculum is centered around the five core Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies which foster values such as self-confidence, self-regulation, perspective-taking, compassion, communication, and ethical responsibility.
What we believe
Art in the Garden aims to affirm the cultural backgrounds of the youth we serve, focus on whole-child development, use restorative approaches to conflict, nurture relationships, engage youth in arts and ecological activities that support values of responsibility and resilience, and help youth develop tools to process and heal from trauma. Supporting the social and emotional development of youth contributes to the creation of a healthy, inclusive, and equitable society. Above all, Art in the Garden seeks to enable youth to grow in connectedness to themselves, each other, and our earth. Our programming supports youth knowing—in deep and lasting ways—the interconnectedness of all living beings, that we are all whole and all belong.
- We believe that when we grow in our understanding of connectedness to ourselves, each other, and our earth, we are able build a better neighborhood.
- We believe mindfulness practices have the power to help youth as they work to reframe untrue and distorted or limiting beliefs and that this can create space for the positive transformation of self, family, and community.
- We believe in an environmental ethic that sequesters carbon, creates wildlife habitat, and increases biodiversity.
- We believe that all people deserve access to healthy food.
- We believe all people have a right to easily access and enjoy green space.
- We believe children need nature and we believe in the transformative power and healing potential of nature.
In addition to the core set of daily activities, we have community partner organizations who visit Art in the Garden to provide a unique experience for youth.
Sankofa Village of the Arts teaches youth West African drumming and dance using sound and movement as tools for building self-esteem, self-discipline, self-determination, and self-sufficiency.
TOPittsburgh provides interactive theatre and drama workshops each week, using exercises and games from Theatre of the Oppressed. In Theatre of the Oppressed, developed in the 1970’s by Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal, participants analyze systems of oppression, share stories of oppression from their own lives, and rehearse strategies to overcome these systems and make positive change in the world. Boal’s approach is across the globe in a variety of fields and contexts, including: politics, therapy, conflict resolution, and education.
The Clay Workshop provides the tools and materials for youth to make a series of clay artifacts. Youth learn about a variety of surface treatments such as burnishing, stamps, texture and glaze and the low fire technique, Horsehair Raku. As youth discuss what their clay piece needs to survive the firing, which they do in a kiln built on site, they also have the opportunity to discuss resilience and what they each need in order to thrive in the face of challenges. Building on sequential firings, youth learn to create more durable and better-constructed pieces.
The Storymobile from Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh brings stories, activities, books, and literary resources to Art in the Garden. Each time The Storymobile visits, youth are given a book to expand their home libraries.
SOAR Coaching Academy gives youth opportunities to explore their true strength and to dream big.
Earthen Vessels provides free breakfast and lunch for all of the youth.
Art in the Garden is supported by donations from people like you, OMA Center for Mind, Body and Spirit, The Neighbors Committee at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, The Presbyterian Women, Borland Garden, the African Healing Garden, WTAfter3, Pacific Playtents, CityGrows, Shadyside Worms, and a grant from The Heinz Endowments.
The Heinz Endowments is devoted to the mission of helping our region prosper as a vibrant center of creativity, learning, and social, economic and environmental sustainability. Core to our work is the vision of a just community where all are included and where everyone who calls southwestern Pennsylvania home has a real and meaningful opportunity to thrive.
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