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My Country Tis of Thee. Brittany Woodward, 2001.

[Detail] My Country Tis of Thee. Brittany Woodward, 2001.

Expressing Emotion through Art

Drawing is often used to release emotions, especially among children who have witnessed a horrific event, such as television coverage of the terrorist attacks of September 11. According to experts in the field, “With guidance and support, it [drawing] can help traumatized children to make sense of their experiences, communicate grief and loss, and become active participants in their own process of healing, beginning the process of seeing themselves as ‘survivors’ rather than as ‘victims’” (“Using Art in Trauma Recovery with Children,” from the American Art Therapy Association).

Fourteen drawings by third grade students from Knoxville, Tennessee, are included in the September 11, 2001, Documentary Project as a “Gallery.” Examine the drawings by Hannah Beach, “Crying Towers”; Meagan Yoakley, “No, No”; and Eddie Hamilton, “It’s OK.” Also examine the panoramic drawing by second-grade students at Van Horne Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona.

  • What emotions are the children expressing in these drawings?
  • What do the titles of the drawings reveal?
  • What message is Eddie Hamilton conveying by showing the Statue of Liberty consoling a Bald Eagle?
  • Wat do the drawings indicate about the effects of the terrorist attacks on young children?