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Loving Kindness: A Kids' and Teens’ Art Exhibition about Mindfulness

Updated: Feb 10

Mindfulness programs have grown rapidly in PreK-12 schools throughout the U.S., taking on a wide array of shapes and sizes. In the Lehigh Valley, a growing number of educators are guiding children and teens in mindfulness practices, following the sessions with art lessons in which students create works of art inspired by what they've learned about mindfulness.


Loving Kindness: A Children’s and Teens’ Art Exhibition about Mindfulness, a display being held in Moravian College’s Payne Gallery through March 13, celebrates this artwork by children and their teacherssome of which you can view below!

Mariah Diaz, right, hugs her daughter Charlie-Rose Colón, left, who is the featured artist for Fountain Hill Elementary School in Bethlehem.
Charlie-Rose Colón's mixed media artwork depicts a scene of mindful breathing and includes watercolor, fiber and marker. 'I made this because Miss P. taught us about calming down and it's my favorite thing to do at home,' says Colón, of her work.
Art teacher Rachel Lynn, of Fountain Hill Elementary School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, studies the collections of cardboard mixed media murals created by over 1,000 students in elementary school art classes throughout the Bethlehem Area School District. 'It's amazing to see the unity, the things that bring us together with mindfulness,' says Lynn.

The three murals above were created collaboratively by students at Easton's Northampton County Juvenile Justice Center and Dr. Kristin Baxter's First Year Writing Seminar Moravian University students. This preliminary sketching was completed during Moravian's annual day of community service called "Heritage Day." After the murals were sketched by Moravian students, they were painted by youth at NCJJC in December 2021 and January 2022.

Mariah Diaz, left, photographs her daughter, Charlie-Rose Colón, center, celebrating with her grandparents Bobby Diaz, left, and Yesenia Diaz, right, in front of her art.
 

"The most amazing part of this project was the willingness of students to share and explore their own thoughts and feelings with their classmates. Giving students this opportunity allowed each artist to truly create a piece of art that is meaningful to them."

- Art Teacher Jayne Preletz, Miller Heights Elementary School, Bethlehem

 

With the exhibit, the contributors—Kristin Baxter, Ed.D., Kin Cheung, Ph.D., Pamela D. Winfield, Ph.D., and Lisa Kay, Ed.D.—aimed to curate an exhibition that responds to this question:


What role can art and mindfulness play in helping an individual and society build equitable, diverse, inclusive, flourishing and healthy communities?


The roots of mindfulness practices, which lie in sacred Buddhist religious traditions, are often overlooked when teaching mindfulness education. Essays in the exhibition catalog will begin to address this gap, along with an accompanying one-day professional development conference on March 13, titled “Loving Kindness: A Mini-Conference on the Benefits and Cautions of Mindfulness in Education."

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