Exploring the Arts with NAMI

Exploring the Arts 2018

NAMI of Erie County’s expertise in mental health education adds additional benefits to Exploring the Arts with NAMI. By combining arts education, positive mental health behaviors, and a focus on creativity, the program has a beneficial impact on the lives of children. Improved mental health and developing an interest in the arts at an early age provides opportunities for children to increase positive behaviors that enable them to become healthy, productive young adults who contribute to our community.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Erie County held its fourth annual Exploring the Arts with NAMI on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum. Children from Early Connections explored the museum and learned how art and creativity can positively affect mental health and wellness. Approximately 50 students from Early Connections attended. This year, Exploring the Arts with NAMI featured local musician Lori Burke, who has written music for Sesame Street.

The children enjoyed a fun-filled day of music, art, and mental health education that allowed them to explore how art and creativity can positively affect mental health and wellness. The children had a chance to experience a variety of instruments as Lori Burke performed some classic kids songs and a few that she has written. The kids then made an instrument of their own using recycled materials. Exploring the Arts with NAMI began in 2015 in an effort to introduce mental health and reduce stigma at an early age through music and artistic expression. The program has served over 750 children since its inception.

Spark an Interest in Art

NAMI of Erie County’s expertise in mental health education adds additional benefits to Exploring the Arts with NAMI. By combining arts education, positive mental health behaviors, and a focus on creativity, the program has a beneficial impact on the lives of children. Improved mental health and developing an interest in the arts at an early age provides opportunities for children to increase positive behaviors that enable them to become healthy, productive young adults who contribute to our community.

On March 25, 2015, NAMI of Erie County partnered with Early Connections, the Mercyhurst Institute For Arts & Culture (MIAC), and Erie Arts and Culture to bring national artists PROJECT Trio to Erie. PROJECT Trio is a New York City-based chamber music ensemble with a special talent for connecting with and growing appreciation for music among children. They were the perfect ambassadors for the inaugural Exploring the Arts with NAMI event at the LEAF Center that featured a performance by the group and lessons about some basic musical principles, such as rhythm and musical beats.

The real learning happened after the performance as children made their own musical instruments out of common household materials and performed with them. Children cooperated and complimented one another on their creations. It was a potent demonstration of the harmony between creativity and wellness, both physical and mental.

The video below shows PROJECT Trio teaching the children and received over 3,800 views on NAMI’s Facebook page!

PROJECT Trio Performing at Exploring the Arts with NAMI

Exploring the Arts 2016

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Erie County (NAMI) recently partnered with Early Connections to host “Exploring the Arts with NAMI.” The event was held on Wednesday, April 6, at the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum. The children enjoyed a fun-filled day of music, art, and mental health education that allowed them to explore how art and creativity can positively affect mental health and wellness.

Thanks to the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture (MIAC), Matuto, world renowned musical ensemble, performed for the children, creating a unique sound that combined bluegrass, swing, rock, and blues with Brazilian folk styles. Matuto has performed around the world, catering workshops and performances to each specific audience. The interactive performance introduced the children to a new culture and showcased music as a form of relaxation and stress management.

After Matuto’s performance, the children completed their day with a craft led by NAMI of Erie County staff where the students created instruments of their own out of recycled materials. The craft served as a mental health lesson focused on developing confidence, cooperation, and healthy relationships,. In addition, it demonstrated that art can have a positive impact on mental health. Support for this project was provided in part from an Erie Arts & Culture Project Grant, which was made possible by community contributions to the Combined Arts & Cultural Campaign and the Erie Arts Endowment.

Testimonials

“THIS PROGRAM IS ONE OF THE STRONGEST HANDS-ON ARTS LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES PROVIDED FOR YOUTH IN ERIE COUNTY”

-CHRISTINE OLIVIER, DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING, MERCYHURST INSTITUTE FOR ARTS AND CULTURE

“I HAD SO MUCH FUN MAKING MY INSTRUMENT AND PLAYING FOR MY FRIENDS!”

-LILAH, AGE 5

Support for this program is provided in part from an Erie Arts & Culture Project Grant, made possible by community contributions to the annual Arts & Culture Campaign and the Erie Arts Endowment.

Donate Today

Please consider a donation that supports Exploring the Arts with NAMI and allow a child to experience the joy of art! As always, 100% of your contribution stays in Erie County.