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Exhibit at Smithsonian: Artwork by Haitian Children

Everyone has seen the horrors of the Haitian earthquake through numerous photos and videos and can only imagine what it was like to actually be there when it happened. The ground trembled, buildings collapsed and an unknown amount of injured persons were all around. Do you have that picture in your head? Now, think about being a child in the midst of all the chaos. Shortly after the earthquake, Madame Elisabeth Preval, the First Lady of Haiti, gathered Haitian Philippe Dodard and fellow artists and psychologists to establish a quiet haven for children to express themselves through art. Called Plas Timoun (The Children’s Place), it is composed of 2 converted buses at 2 locations in Port-au-Prince. It uses visual and performing arts as a means to bring healing to the children of Haiti. An exhibition entitled “The Healing Power of Art: Works of Art by Haitian Children After the Earthquake” has been on display at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center since June and continue through October 17th, so you have plenty of time to check it out.  While there are the obvious pictures of death and destruction, there are also pieces with brighter colors and pieces reflecting the rescue effort and signs for a better future. In addition to approximately 100 pieces of artwork, the exhibit includes the film Thirty Five Long Seconds: Haiti’s Deadly Earthquake (18 minutes) and 2 shorter videos, one of which is about Plas Timoun. Free brochures are available and kids who visit are encouraged to draw pictures and write messages to send back to the Haitian children. If you are looking for something to do to escape the heat, this just might do the trick. If you live in KingstowneSpringfield or Alexandria and you should be there in about 30 minutes. See our Kid’s Corner section for more great ideas on things to do with children.

Susan Hall