Timothy Lomas “Il Sanat Atolyesi 3” was an art workshop program provided for approximately 150 students in Turkey including the orphaned and disadvantaged, mentally and/or physically disabled, as well as typically developing students. The organizations we provided these art workshop events were Sevgi Evleri (Care Houses) run by the Society for the Protection of Children in Ankara, ZICEV (The Foundation for the Training and Protection of Mentally handicapped Children) in Samsun, and at the Ordu Municipality Black Sea Theater with a focus on children with physically disabilities in the morning and a second group of typically developing students in the afternoon. These art workshops were also attended by local care-givers, teachers, parents, and volunteers bringing the number of participants to over 200. In each of the art workshops students collaborated with the artist to create 2 murals. One of which was our signature “Mandala Mural” where students were given designs examples of mandalas from different world cultures to color and contribute to large-scale collaborative composition.
Each group also created a large “Tree of Hope” mural with a red tree trunk with the crescent moon and star representing Turkey and rainbow colored leaves made up of the students handprints. This mural was recreated in each city to commemorate the protests around Turkey that summer which were first initiated in Gezi Park, Istanbul where government forces initiated the demolition of a park to build a mall. The protests grew and expanded throughout Turkey that summer in protest of on increasingly non-secular government and it’s ultra-conservative policies.
Participants also learned of Native American culture by studying the designs, styles, and symbolism of Totem Poles. Each student created his/her own symbolic animal totem which was then assembled to form a series of 6 – 8 large-scale “Totem Poles”.
Students at ZICEV in Samsun also collaborated with artist, Timothy Lomas, to create their own Pop Art self-portraits inspired by the work of Andy Warhol.
By these art workshops children celebrated their own Turkish culture while also learning of the aesthetic expressions of other world cultures. The students were enthusiastic, highly motivated and fully engaged while learning new techniques and materials and developing skills of problem-solving and collaboration. Each art workshop ended with an exhibition attended by locals where the students were acknowledged with certificates. In Ordu, the art workshop was held at the Ordu Municipality Black Sea Theatre and was visited by the mayor of the city. The closing exhibition, which was hosted by the deputy mayor, began with a ribbon cutting ceremony and culminated with a presentation of certificates.
Media coverage was extensive, both in newspapers and television news programs and the feedback from participants and the media was overwhelmingly positive. At each location where the art workshops were held art supplies were donated to the host organizations so that the students would have continued access to art materials and that our program would have long-term effects.