<![CDATA[NIMBUS HAUS - Blog]]>Wed, 08 Jan 2020 12:13:04 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[4 Ways Art Helps Youth in Foster Care Heal From Trauma]]>Tue, 30 Jul 2019 18:20:19 GMThttp://nimbushaus.com/blog/4-ways-art-helps-youth-in-foster-care-heal-from-trauma
Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event. Youth in foster care can experience trauma in many ways; as the result of being separated from their families, abuse from their families, and even abuse from their foster families. It is no wonder that, with each “new placement,” kids in foster care typically fall behind by months in school performance.

Adolescence is a tough time for everyone, but add trauma to the mix and potential psychological issues can easily compound. Fortunately, therapy, small groups, and support can help youth heal from trauma, but it is also important to consider the role of art creation in the healing process.

Here are some of the benefits of art creation that can help youth in foster care heal from trauma:
1. Connecting with Emotion
Experiencing trauma is often a violation of a person’s will, circumstances, or identity, which causes one’s emotions to spiral. To cope, some people try to tune out their emotions. Over time, they can become numb, as a survival mechanism, so they don’t get emotionally hurt again in the event of trauma. Sometimes however, these are the very emotions the individual needs to connect with to heal. Finding ways of reaching these emotions can be strategic to the healing process.

Since art creation is often seen as something fun and approachable, it’s easy to experience. Art doesn’t judge. Art is not a therapist who might try to read into your experience. Art does not give you more than you are ready to handle; it moves at your own pace.

For these reasons, art creation can provide a safe space, a sandbox, for youth to get “out of their heads” and explore a medium. While it may just look like fun and games, art creation is an exercise in letting out our emotions. Over time, we learn to speak the language of art and express ourselves in ways we never knew before.
2. Offering An Outlet To Express
​Art creation offers immediacy when feelings become overwhelming. Emotions are not always logical or convenient. If you’re a young person coping with the aftermath of trauma, trying to get through your day or the week can be especially difficult given your circumstances, surroundings, and triggers. Knowing that you have a regular place to make art can act like a pressure release valve. It helps you channel that energy into something productive and reliable.

3. Seeing Your Truth Objectively
​Creating art is about connecting your mind and your emotions with something in the real world, whether it’s a painting, a song, a film, a photograph, or something else. Art is meant to be experienced. When you create art and experience it for yourself, it helps you see pieces of your inner world that you never saw objectively before. In this way, art is like a mirror for the artist. It is also a mirror for the audience, who interprets their own ideas about a piece.
4. Validating Identity
​For youth recovering from trauma, it can be tempting to hide from the world; to try and fade into the background. No one asks for trauma to happen to them, and when it does, there are all these expectations of therapy, groups, and even medical treatment, depending on the trauma. To say it’s an inconvenience is an understatement. Recovering from trauma is a process in itself that is often unpredictable and extremely difficult.

Art creation is uniquely empowering because it allows youth to be seen as, not victims of a trauma, but as artists; of people in control of their own narrative. This control is a powerful step in the healing process. Being seen, heard, and known by others as a creator can be deeply validating in helping youth learn to trust and connect with the outside world.
About the Author:
​Jennifer L. Jacobson is an artist and communications professional. She is the Founder of Nimbus Haus; a new volunteer art program in Seattle that helps LGBTQ+ youth and youth in foster care connect with art and expression. To learn more, visit

<![CDATA[5 Ways To Help Your Teen Get Into Art and Painting]]>Fri, 26 Jul 2019 18:07:08 GMThttp://nimbushaus.com/blog/5-ways-to-help-your-teen-get-into-art-and-painting
As a parent, foster parent, or influential adult in a teen’s life, your attitude and approach to art shapes how your teen thinks about art. While we all know that creating art and painting is a great way to express yourself and build confidence, if it’s not something you’ve done before, getting into art can be a daunting task.

So how do you get your teen interested in art and painting?

Here are some ideas:
1. Have Art Supplies Out and Ready
You don’t need a studio, just a corner of a room or even a drawer. Whatever it is, make a dedicated space in your home for your teen to create. Show them where everything is and what it is.
2. Make Art With Them
Lead by example and do it regularly. Even if your teen seems to be too cool for art projects, make some time to make art together. Even if it’s just you painting the first time, they’ll see what you’re doing. Give them time to come around. See if your teen is interested in an art party and invite their friends over for an art party and provide food and painting supplies.
3. Don’t Be Negative
Art requires an open minded environment to flourish. How you respond to your teens art matters. No matter what your teen’s art looks like, find something positive to say about it. Try statements like, “I really like what you’ve done with xyz.” If they ask for feedback about something they’re struggling with, offer suggestions, but do it in a way that is positive. And remember; this goes for your art too. When you and your teen make art together, avoid the temptation to criticize or put down your own work. If you’re struggling with a part of your art, try statements like, “I’m struggling with xyz. What would you do to make it more like xyz.”
4. Make and Explore Different Types of Art
Not everyone can or should paint like Rembrandt. Think of Piccaso. Think of Jackson Pollock. Think of the impressionists, expressionists, the modernists. Each has a very different look and that’s what makes it all wonderful. There are many styles of paintings. Some are made to look like real life, some are made to look like alternate versions of life, some are symbolic, and some are abstract. Google search individual artists and artistic movements and share your findings with your teen. Browse local bookstores and libraries and look at books about art. Remember, your art is yours. It can be any style you want.
5. Make Your Home a Personal Family Gallery
Find a good sized, visible wall (or walls) within your home where you want to display your family’s art. Tell your teen you want to display a painting of theirs and a painting of yours in the space. Be sure to include all members of the household. Ask them what they’d like to see in that space. Whenever they make new art, find a place in the home for it. If your teen is prolific enough, you may even cycle paintings out as they create them.
Art is an ongoing experience, and helps teens express themselves. The best art is a conversation between the artist and the audience, and this conversation happens entirely without words. Connecting your teen to art is an important part of being an influential adult or parent in their lives. Set the tone for how they engage with art. You can do it.

About the Author
Jennifer L. Jacobson is an artist and communications professional. She is the Founder of Nimbus Haus; a new volunteer art program in Seattle that helps LGBTQ+ youth and youth in foster care connect with art and expression. To learn more, visit www.nimbushaus.com.