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.
Art in the Garden provides free programming and meals to underserved families, which is particularly crucial during this time. Please consider donating HERE; you can also donate by mailing a check made out to OMA Center for Mind, Body and Spirit to 5810 Black Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.
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, and engage youth in arts and ecological activities that foster social and emotional development. 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.
Art in the Garden’s Core Values:
We believe that when we grow in our understanding of connectedness to ourselves, each other, and our earth, we are able to create healthier communities.
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 it is morally imperative to prevent early childhood adversity and equip adults with tools to support youth.
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 in an environmental ethic that sequester carbon, creates wildlife habitat, and increases biodiversity for the benefit of all beings.
We believe in the transformative power and healing potential of art and 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 Project 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.
Please consider donating HERE.
Art in the Garden is supported by donations from people like you, OMA Center for Mind, Body and Spirit, The Neighbors Committee and The Presbyterian Women at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Borland Garden, the African Healing Garden, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Burkholder Foundation, WTAfter3, Pacific Playtents, CityGrows, Shadyside Worms, Choolaah, 412 Food Rescue, the Window Box Garden Club, the East End Food Coop 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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