Thoughts I had during my time as an intern at The Ark.


“Jole once told us, that if you make a mistake, you can always make it into something spectacular!” Aoife, Third class.

Through working as an intern in The Ark, I learned a very special reminder, mistakes can be beautiful, and an artist should always be proud of their work, no matter what it is. In reinforcing this to the children in the Workshop everyday while working with Jole and her wonderful team throughout the “Colour!” programme at The Ark, it left me thinking, do I practice what I preach?

Many children throughout the course of these workshops would say things like “Oh I’m not the artist in my class, I’m not good at art” hearing this would send shivers into my heart and leave me gushing at them that “We are all artists!! Every single one of us is an artist!” Teaching this to children from a very young age, I believe is crucial as to not have themselves be put in a box of “I can not to this”

Thankfully, reinforcing this to the children while working with them was always well received, and seeing that lightbulb moment of them realising they are an artist was beautiful to say the least, one child even announced that “Making an old painting into a new one, is like planting a garden and watching it grow.” (Now that sentence is a piece of art!)

A mistake can come in many forms, whether it be a slip of the hand with a paintbrush to land where it wasn’t meant to go, or a formation of paint left in the sink at the end of the day. All of these things can be appreciated in different forms.

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I think what I learned the most through this thought process while working as an intern in The Ark is that, to unlock the barrier of being scared to make a mistake, is to unlock the doors to imagination. The visible hesitation on a child’s face before beginning a piece of artwork is inevitable during these types of workshops, but the joy and relief in their eyes once I would tell them “Don’t worry about it! There’s no right or wrong answer to this it’s your piece of art work” was always so beautiful to see!

Immediately they would relax, grabbing whatever brush they liked the best and diving in head first to a sea of rainbow paint only to return when their teacher would announce “Okay guys five minutes left!” which was always met with sighs of “awwwh, please more time!”

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The children creating art work while listening to Luna Park by Kila.

The sense of therapeutic outlet is something I sincerely hope they keep with them forever. Art is a form of self-expression, a form of individuality, and a form of genius that every child (as well as every adult) possesses, and to be utilized is only a case of letting down our barriers, and allowing our creative minds to flow. In doing this, we can make anything “Spectacular!”

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Ali working with school children at The Ark.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”- Scott Adams

“I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for!”- Georgia O’Keeffe