Student art displayed at Paul Robeson Community School in New Brunswick, NJ

In an Innovative Arts Program, Students Learn to Express Emotions Through Art

Andrea Lubin / IHC
February 28, 2024

Members of the Rutgers IHC management support team visited the Paul Robeson Community School for the Arts in New Brunswick, N.J., this month to experience the dynamic artwork created by students with disabilities engaged with IHC grantee Young Audiences’ (YA) programming. A series of over 30 paintings and drawings created by students from four classes at Paul Robeson were displayed at the school’s media center, with students visiting and engaging with the colorful and impactful art pieces. Visual artist and residency instructor Molly Gaston Johnson shared that over a 12-week period, students have learned about processes of painting and how painting can be an expressive language, serving as a tool to explore and express feelings including happiness, anger, sadness and fear.

Student art displayed at Paul Robeson Community School
Art work by students displayed at Paul Robeson Community School
Student paintings at Paul Robeson Community School art show

Several student artists on-site the day of the visit proudly pointed out their work to visitors, with one sharing his joy in learning painting techniques including sgraffito, and others pointing out how they opted to blend and layer different colors and techniques in their pieces. Some of the students also chose to connect words to image in their pieces as a way to communicate their story.

Young Audiences is an arts education organization providing artist-led programming across all art forms and in partnership with schools. Their mission is to inspire young people and to expand their learning through the arts. United We Discover is YA’s IHC initiative and provides a school-based arts residency with five partner schools for students with disabilities and their classmates, educators and families.

Learn more about Young Audiences, New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania

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