Expression from the Inside For Kids® is an expressive art therapy program developed by NAF Co-Founder and President, Cécilia Rodhe. This program gives young people in under-served areas and those who are dealing with emotional and/or physical adversity and trauma the opportunity to engage in powerful self-expression. In the program, the instructor presents the young people with an emotion, such as happiness, sadness, or anger, and then shows them how apply that concept to the clay. After feeling the material and imprinting it with their energy, a form gradually emerges, and they begin working through the selected emotion to create a sculpture that is their own personal representation of the feeling. Through this experience the young people learn how to sculpt not only what they see – but also what they feel.
Interested in bringing Expression from the Inside for Kids® to your youth?
NAF partners with organizations as well as individual art instructors to train and support them in providing the Expression from the Inside for Kids® experience to their youth. This includes providing partners with our evidenced based curriculum developed by NAF Co-Founder and President Cécilia Rodhe who is an accomplished art therapist as well as ongoing training, materials, support, evaluation tools, and impact reports.
Art Instructor Feature: Khira Grace
Khira Grace was raised in the Cabrini Green near north and near west side of Chicago where she had a diverse and consistent exposure to various art programs and schools that kept her and her siblings productive. With the support of her grandfather Dr. Nehemiah Russell and her mother Dr. Mitchell; both educators who have served the homeless and at risk population throughout the city of Chicago, Khira has received a moral and ethical education that has inspired and informed all of her artwork and aspirations for her community.
Vital creative and social experiences lead Khira to becoming a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design where she received her BFA in Interior Design and was nominated for best production design for the film “Grace” in its annual film festival. Opportunity mixed with preparation after college allowed for Khira to spend the next three years traveling the world and gathering life skills, and creative and artistic information that she could apply to her experience as an artist. Teaching and creating throughout Asia, is where she met her mentor Kim Moon Ho, a master Korean ceramic artist and time spent in Nairobi with Kenyan artists Kota Otieno and Cyrus Kabiru significantly nurtured a new style of expressive painting. Mixing the spiritual of Korean culture/artist practices with the color and passion of Nairobi informs her artistic identity. BBOONIE is the Korean named she adopted while creating there.
After moving back to Chicago, Khira became the protégé to renowned model, sculptor, teacher, and Noah’s Arc Foundation Co-Founder and President Cécilia Rodhe. Working closely with and being mentored by NAF’s visionary and director, Khira has been a uplifting and vital resource to NAF where the role she plays in the art department has enhanced all areas of her life as a professional, educator, and artist. Khira leads Expression from the Inside for Kids® art classes at Major Adams Community center and Perspectives Charter School in partnership with After School Matters.
Sidley Austin law offices in 2015 made history when they hosted their first Black Art exhibition for Khira’s solo work, part II of her international debut at Mokpo Cultural Center in South Korea. Her palette: powerful primary and secondary bold colors emphasizing, alongside brown, the richness and soul, virtue and vice of humanity. The bold uses of color in the paintings are reminiscent of graffiti but also strong in language informed by art history. The characters in this artwork are not defined by what may be the color of their skin. "The subject matter in my paintings all deal with the vulnerabilities we all share here on this planet. As a species, which continues to divide itself into races and colors, our realities and stories differ but our humanity remains intrinsic. It is important to me, even when I'm referencing a black woman in jail or a Korean man in church, they are all one color to me. Their style, their clothes and their hair may be different but it is all part of the same struggle to let more light in and to be better today than you were yesterday." She believes that the value of art is in its significance to the time and to the artists around them.
She currently lives, teaches and creates in Chicago helping to cultivate and support artists to become the next generation of masters. She is co author of the 2017 book “Grace and Moons”, designer and owner of apparel textile line BIATA BBOONIE, a board member for Ingenuity the chief arts education strategy partner to CPS and co-founder of Art Devour an arts education and sustainable design non profit program taught by teaching arts to empower and support artists endeavors to create meaningful and respected works amongst their artists peers and to signify and challenge social and cultural norms.