The Football Foundation of South Africa was recently presented with the unique and exciting opportunity to collaborate with world-renowned artist and photographer, Jared Aufrichtig, to implement a weeklong Creative Workshop and Mural Project in the town of Gansbaai during October 2014. With the mural itself being the end product of this initiative, the true value lied in the process of its creation. Utilzing Jared’s extensive artistic knowledge and abilities we introduced the children to some of the fundamental concepts and practices of art and creativity, such as mixing colors, proper brush strokes and texture. The creation of the wall mural was supplemented by workshops, led by Jared, which taught the children these artistic lessons, among many others.
This small, rural, coastal fishing village is equipped with many of the basic features of a developed community, such as, for example, schools, grocery stores, phone shops, and restaurants, but there is very little access to the sort of ancillary resources that can improve quality of life by providing a means for entertainment, developing hobbies and self expression. The Football Foundation of South Africa has, in many ways, already accomplished this through the introduction of formal sports training and providing a space in which children can safely play, but we recognize that sport is not the only medium through which this task can be accomplished. Understanding that art and creativity can be a powerful medium, the FFSA partnered with Jared to bring this art project to Gansbaai, a place with limited access to art education, classes, supplies or formal creative expression. Because of this, we believe that the community of Gansbaai served as ideal beneficiaries to this initiative. By serving a community that would not usually gain this sort of artistic exposure, the initiative has the potential to light a creative spark in the children that could manifest itself in a long term, or even lifelong, interest, hobby or passion in art. If this were to happen even for just one child, the effect that it could have on that individual’s life could be profound, just as the influence of sport can substantially and positively impact one’s life. The finished mural not only now serves as a beautiful addition to the town of Gansbaai, but is also a lasting source of pride for the children who worked on it and a reminder of what can be accomplished by working together.
Falling on the children’s school holiday, this project served as a fun, exciting and productive way for them to spend idle time this week. Overall, the children’s behavior was excellent throughout each day, and they appeared to genuinely enjoy and appreciate the project. The week was filled with rewarding moments and experiences that confirmed the accomplishment of the project’s primary goal: Making sure the kids had fun and that this project has been a meaningful experience for them. Displaying a keen desire to improve their artistic skills, with many of them starting to show great care and purpose with each brush stroke they make, there were a select few who demonstrated exceptional natural artistic skill, which may have never been exposed or noticed without the implementation of this project. Some of the most touching moments came when children approached us towards the end of the last day asking when we’ll be back to do another project, eager to continue their creative expression.