Beautiful Are the Souls of My People

by Candice Jacobs, Creative Arts Lead Teacher,  Janice Mirikitani Family, Youth & Childcare Center

Beautiful Are the Souls of My People,” an exhibit of youth art from the Creative Arts program at GLIDE’s Janice Mirikitani Family, Youth and Childcare Center (FYCC) drew inspiration from the Langston Hughes poem, “My People.” The exhibit features art by children in the preschool and afterschool programs at FYCC. Every child ages 3 through 11 was represented through their artwork and creative voice. 2011 created many moments for learning to see differently, through the eyes of an artist. We began to look at ourselves with more focus and appreciation of what makes each of us unique. We asked the children to look at themselves carefully, and to look for the differences and special features, even changes they notice over time. As a teacher who sees these youth every day, I see the small, yet significant changes in them as they grow; much like a parent does.

Allowing children to be conscious of their changing faces and bodies, I believe, can help them to be more comfortable in their bodies and enhance the confidence in their self-image. We focused on the self-portrait and it became the inspiration for the first FYCC art exhibition in the Creative Space, located in the Celebration Office of the Founders Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani.

Children, especially the very young, are naturally self-involved during childhood development, making self-portraits an easy starting point for many. I love how a portrait shares the energy and the soul of a person.

I even photographed the youth and families to create black and white photography portraits as gifts to the mothers of our clients.

This exhibit helped to set into motion, a goal of making our program more visible not only at GLIDE, but also to the San Francisco community and beyond.  As the art instructor here at GLIDE, I am so pleased to touch more than 100 children and their families per week, through my art classes. Many of the youth do not have fine art instruction in their core daily curriculum at school. I know our clients benefit from the practice and study of art; I like to think it gives us our humanity and sensitivity as well, making us whole beings.

It is joy to have this opportunity to blog and share my work and the creativity of young minds with the world.

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GLIDE Instagram
Celebrating Rev. Cecil Williams today! Leave some well wishes for the Minister of Liberation in the comments! Better yet, wish him a happy birthday in person at #SundayCelebration this weekend! #unconditionallove #fromthearchives #thisdayinhistory #radical @glidesflegacy @shakasenghor @feliciahorowitz @dnwenig @zendesk @mrdannyglover @goapele @vbozeman @ebay_newsroom @sfchronicle @hoodline “My family had that sense about them, a sense of caring. Seeing people as they are, rather than as we would like for them to be. And so that melded in my soul and in my life. And my pathway and my journey has been to say: I’m gonna be inclusive.” —Rev. Cecil Williams

Today we wish a very happy birthday to Rev. Cecil Williams, GLIDE's beloved Co-Founder and Minister of Liberation. We remain eternally grateful for all that he’s done, and continues to do, for the people of the Tenderloin, San Francisco, and the world through the power and example of unconditional love. #unconditionallove #radical #livinglegend #fromthearchives #thisdayinhistory "Eric understands that recovery takes time& compassion." Learn more about our wonderful Community Safety and Training Team on our blog; link is in our profile! #RealTalk #FacesOfGLIDE photo credit: Alain McLaughlin Did you miss Lillian Mark's inspiring words this past Sunday at Celebration? Don't worry—we're sharing her experiences as Manager of GLIDE's Community Safety and Training Team on our #RealTalk blog in a two-part series this month! Big thanks to Lillian for her loving words and inspiring commitment to GLIDE's mission. Click the link in our profile for the full post. "This role has been the most challenging and soul-saving time for me at GLIDE. It has been an absolute honor to work on this team. We help keep the doors wide open for as many people as possible. We are the extended family for people who need and want it, and they are my family. We are there for the good days and the bad days. The team teaches me a lot. Let me tell you about the other day..." https://glidesf.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/leading-with-heart/

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