Isabelle Hanson (KFVS 12)
Apr 19, 2019

Cape Girardeau kids learn self-expression at after-school art program

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A new program in Cape Girardeau, Missouri gives kids a safe space to go after school and express themselves.

The Community Counseling Center’s Conextion Community Resource Center started a weekly art class for middle schoolers mainly from south Cape Girardeau.

“Every Tuesday it’s just like yes, I have something to do. I’m not gonna be sitting at home doing chores. I get to have fun and experience something I’ve never done before,” said Mya Farrar, a 6th grader.

For her art project, she drew a woman reflecting on what she sees in the mirror.

“And how she’s beautiful, smart, strong, outstanding, and just all the good things that like she’s thinking of,” said Farrar.

To her, the art program goes beyond what you see on the paper.

“I’ve learned that art is not just painting something, it’s emotional too,” said Farrar.

She expresses herself through things like colors.

“So like if you start painting with reds or like dark colors, you probably are mad or sad at the moment. But if you want to be cheerful, you got to add happy colors, and like you put all your expression in art,” said Farrar.

For 6th grader Amani Harris, it’s a way to open up.

“Most of the time I don’t express my thoughts a lot, but when I started coming here it started becoming a little better, like I started expressing myself more, drawing more,” said Harris

Soni Llyod, Conextion’s program manager, said it also gives the kids a place to go after school and make smart choices.

“That’s why it’s so important to keep them from falling in the gap and keep them from ya know making mistakes and hopefully giving them or redirecting their future,” said Llyod.

She sees the kids grow in the positive space each week.

“They’re trying to finish up their art project, and they’re like can I get five more minutes, ya know. That let’s me know that they’re really engaged and very involved in what they’re doing," said Llyod.

Both Harris and Farrar agree coming to art class brightens their day.

“And it actually makes me feel better,” said Harris.

“You feel so good after it," said Farrar.

The program also has a literacy class on Thursdays and hopes to have more this coming summer.

If you want to get involved with the Community Counseling Center’s Conextion Community Resource Center, call (573) 803-1210 or stop by the office at 402 South Sprigg Street in Cape Girardeau.