Avanti Center for Girls

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By Artist Mentor Emma Mollendor

When I was fifteen I was sent to a rehabilitating boarding school in Missouri, approximately eleven hours from my home. It was at that point in my life that I was forced to face things in my past that were buried deep inside of myself. My parents decision to send me there, the leadership I came under and the experiences I had there were the foundation to building a healthy life. I experienced true healing and I was encouraged to believe in who I was.

Mark Collier, from Inverted Arts, knew this piece of my past and approached me back in August to talk about the possibility of a new partnership with Avanti Center for Girls. Avanti, located in Blaine, Minnesota, is a center for girls ages 13 to 18 that struggle with suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression, etc. I agreed and we began the partnership in October.

We worked with two of my favorite forms of media, watercolor and ink. We studied zentangle drawings, the artwork featured in adult coloring books. After the girls had some time to experiment with that, we combined the pen and ink zentangle drawings with watercolor. Many of the girls worked really well and really opened up during the time. There are a few of the girls that will soon be joining me at the studio for internship opportunities.

It was really beautiful for me to experience an example of life circling back around. While I was a student at the rehabilitating school that I was at, I engaged in art as a way to center myself and focus on healing. Those memories came full circle in being able to work with other struggling girls using art to bring healing and restoration. I look forward to future partnerships with Avanti!

Here are some of the creative designs: