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Dreaming big for little people (Includes interview)

Hammond Boys explained: A children’s Art House is a house of childhood dreams… Where children are free to express their thoughts and feelings through an art brush, paint and paper under the caring supervision of a teacher…

Individual visualization expression is the goal, rather than trying to direct an artistic outcome…

A safe hatching place where children appreciate help to catch their dreams, keep their dreams, own their dreams and share their dreams and learn to act upon their dreams for the good of society…

Based in New Zealand, Hammond Boys is the National Director of the NZ Children’s Art House Foundation Trust. Awarded the Volunteer Service Award by President Obama for services to children’s art, she has also been honoured with an Queens Service Medal.

The first children’s Art House opened in New Zealand in 1996. Today, there are 25 children’s Art Houses in the nation. Plus Hammond Boys has visited and spoken about children’s Art Houses in England, USA, Eire, Australia, China, Thailand, Singapore, Africa and Israel. As a result, Art Houses of all varieties are beginning to spring up in Australia, USA and elsewhere.

Hammond Boys believes there is a need in every community for a children’s Art House as a “stand alone facility.” She said: Childhoods need to be stepped in wonder, magic and surprise if children are to avoid being stranded in the shallows and miseries…

The impact of a children’s Art House on the community can be easily seen in the smaller rural sectors whether the work is done in a garage, an old barn or shed.

I have seen that children with a dream can survive many obstacles, especially when they step into a dream which is bigger than they are, when they have a vision and dream the future differently, and when they have a mentor…

Her endeavours, spanning 50 years, are becoming increasingly paramount, given the International Child Art Foundation has discovered the “dream eyes” of children aged 8-12 are closing, as reflected in their assessment of 61 nations.

Or as Hammond Boys pointed out, “many children no longer know how to make mud pies and snowballs for invisible friends.” She continued: We need all the art education opportunities we can muster in the community to combat growing cycles of despair expressed by children and youth about being stranded in our societies…

The basic needs drive in childhood is to be creative, to explore to invent to discover. We are the creative species and art is a human necessity not a luxury.

A child’s innate creativity and intrinsic empathy — as supreme innovators — are the foundations to build a new world…

On 25 March, Hammond Boys will be addressing the New Zealand parliament as part of the launch of her book and film, both of which are titled “Oku Moe Moea: The dream which is bigger than I am.” The works relate the struggles of a young artist, and represent New Zealand’s contribution to the International Child Art Foundation World Children’s Festival taking place in July in Washington DC.

Shona Hammond Boys

Shona Hammond Boys
Shona Hammond Boys

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