Anna Hadingham, educator and theater artist working with the Apollinaire theater company, the Chelsea Collaborative, and Peronia Adolescente
We all need to feel like we belong in a space where other people accept us, where our lives and identities matter.
“I’ve gravitated towards art, because doing art is a universally accessible way for youth to transcend the assumption that they’re invisible in their community. It comes down to the most essential questions: does your life and your identity matter? Do you have a place in your community? We all need to feel like we belong in a space where other people accept us, where our lives and identities matter.
[Art] is a way for youth to see themselves last a little bit out there in public space. [Youth] see that they can effect change through civic engagement and transcend expectations that their society has laid out for them. When you’re living under political and economic pressures, your concerns are day-to-day survival, so it’s hard to project your values. Having access to the right to plan is a huge positive outcome for youth, that sense of hope and possibility for the future. I hope anyone with the opportunity of [doing service work abroad] can go in with self-awareness and clarity and make sure they’re not coming with a posture of white saviorism, but that they’re recognizing how they can be a conduit for empowering people. [Art] gives [youth] hope, a sense of inertia and energy forward.”