Children's Craft: Picture Frames

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Still out of breath from their sailing adventure across Lake Merritt, in Oakland, a group of twenty kids and teens aged 10-15 sat down for their final activity of the day, marking an end to their week long summer camp organized by the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

Their final activity was an art workshop where they created their own picture frames to preserve the memories they made that week. With buttons of every color in the rainbow and glitter glue abound, each picture frame expressed a unique perspective. While some planned out their projects and carefully colored within the lines, others chose a more abstract approach, mixing colors and mediums to create obscure, but fantastical frames.

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IRC provided the printed out pictures, documenting the moments they shared, while ARTogether, a local nonprofit that aims to connect refugees and immigrants to local art, provided the art supplies and invited a local artist to lead the workshop.

The artist, Farnaz Tashbihgoo, is from Tehran, Iran, and has a master’s degree in Fine Art Photography. Farnaz loves to work with children, so she was excited to share her skills. Still, Farnaz was not nearly as excited as one class participant from Iran when she found out that Farnaz could also share her native language.

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The two bonded over their common culture while the other kids worked diligently on their picture frames. Although some initially seemed too tired from sailing to engage, after Faraz showed some sample frames, everyone present was quickly sifting through boxes of crayons and crafts, looking for the perfect color for their frame.

As birds flew overhead, their picture frames transformed and the participants bonded over the experience. Since they came from all corners of the world, from Afghanistan to Eritrea to Mexico to DRC to Guatemala, the participants were able to use their art projects to explore their similarities and differences.

The event ended with a collection of beautiful picture frames, ready to preserve old memories while representing hope for new ones too. Ultimately, ARTogether and IRC succeeded, building a community for refugee and immigrant children, one picture frame at a time.