The Springfield Art Museum (SAM) offers many opportunities for children to explore art, yet what transpired this summer was far beyond the expectation of an art camp and continues to impact lives. The museum has a newly acquired partnership, housing flyers for Discovery Arts, which brings awareness to the community about the healing power of art. The Bayazed family understands this all too well.
Cidra Bayazed, age nine, and her little sister Talia, age six, stood apart from the other children, with a story to tell. To look at them, you would think it was for their long, flowing, gently braided hair. To know them, was to see it was for their beauty and courage within. They attended Wilder Elementary School and took art classes together at the museum. This time, Cidra would come alone. Talia passed away last December after a three year illness.
When their mother, Shyma Bayazed, was asked what she wanted people to know about her daughters, she said, “Talia was brave. She would fall down. She wouldn’t cry. She would just get up.” As Talia’s illness progressed, her legs became weak and it was hard for her to walk. Cidra, the oldest of three girls, would take her by the hand, help her up and walk patiently with her.
Cidra readily accepted the role of big sister, to all the children ages kindergarten through second grade, at the Fairies, Mermaids and Wishing Fountains art camp. The children were invited into the courtyard Art Garden, newly landscaped by Friends of the Springfield Art Museum (FOSAM). Upon entrance, they were captivated by the anticipation of fairies, stepping into the enchanting world of imagination, creativity and self-expression. It was here, that they would experience fanciful glitter art, ribbon dance, bubbles and cloud watching amidst nature
Lessons were enhanced and children were entertained by special guests. Anne Cox taught them yoga postures, followed by Dr. Sharon Jackson, from Power of the Mind, who guided them in a fairyland meditation. Provost, Dr. Chris Craig, and Professor Karen Engler, both at MSU, used music and storytelling, to shed a light on sensory awareness of the visually and hearing impaired, who must communicate through Braille and Sign Language.
If you believe, magic is real! Cidra at Fairies, Mermaids and Wishing Fountains Art Camp, Summer 2013
The culminating event, a musical concert performed by Dr. Jeremy Chesman, from Conservatory of the Ozarks, was most memorable. The attire was formal and wings were welcomed, as 14 lovely garden and sea princesses and one magical wizard came to listen and soon fell under the spell of the harp. To close the day, the children were given a penny to make a wish and toss in the fountain. Cidra shared the wish from her journal. “I am making this wish for my favorite sister that is in heaven. I wish you everything of happiness, love and kisses. I love you.”
This is just one of many stories to tell. As a teacher at the Springfield Art Museum and the coordinator for Discovery Arts at Mercy Children’s Hospital, I have the rare privilege to interchange museum and hospital art experiences to touch children’s lives. Jill Norton, in a Mercy ministry called Harps for the Heart, created a transcending ambiance on the Pediatrics floor. The music soothed a crying baby, who spent his first 4 months of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Jill also honored a grandmother’s wish to play Amazing Grace. The song she sang to her grandchildren was played for the family’s loved one in her last hours of Hospice.
Discovery Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, serving 6 hospitals in California for 20 years. Mercy Children’s Hospital, in Springfield, MO, is the first hospital in the Midwest to be given the opportunity to experience the Discovery Arts program. “Our mission is to bring art, music, dance and drama to children with cancer, serious blood disorders and life threatening illness while they are receiving treatment.” For many, their greatest wish is normalcy. Be a part of the promise that hospitalized children will be provided with all the creative and normalization opportunities as their “well” peers. Give generously to increase the quality of life for these children. To donate go to: http://www.discoveryarts.org/make-a-donation.html
In loving memory of Talia Bayazed. You will never be forgotten.
~ Janel Alicia
Bringing the healing power of the arts to children who are in the hospital undergoing treatment for cancer or life-threatening illness.