June 29, 2018

Following on from last weekend's photography exhibition, 'The Art of Black and White', we take a closer looks at some of our favourite photographs, and reflect on the power of Art as a medium for communication.

Last weekend, Pass The Crayon teamed up with the local art gallery, Berlin Blue Art to present a collection of photographs taken from artists from around the world. The photos were chosen from a selection of pictures sent in from artists across the globe, collated via the online photography platform, GuruShots. Each picture was completely different in style and skill level, but all pictures were ccohesively in black and white. 

What really stood out was the individual perspective of each frame. There was not one picture that didn’t capture the esoteric beauty of the subject. It was amazing to see something as mundane as a set of hands folded. It was photographed in a light which made it seem so intensely realistic it looked as though the hands were so worn that they were made...

June 29, 2018

Meghan Geist flew all the way from America for an internship with PTC. She has been an invaluable help to us over the past three weeks, bringing her academic expertise, an openness to learn, and a wonderfully positive energy to the team. This is a piece she wrote for her University about her experience working with us:

Although my time with Pass the Crayon (PTC) was brief, I enjoyed every minute of it. Pass the Crayon is not the first refugee non- profit that I have had the opportunity to work with. The other was back home in Akron, Ohio, where I was fortunate enough to meet and help obtain visas for people from Bhutan/Myanmar, Nepal, and Mexico. However, with PTC I was introduced to a different side of the process, the view a refugee child has to a new country, language, and culture. 

I had many surprises throughout my time here to prove expectations are not reality. Since I have worked with refugees before, I went in with an understanding of how hard it would be for them to...

June 26, 2018

We are honoured and grateful to be chosen by GuruShots as the beneficiary of the proceeds from their recent exhibition, "The Art of Black and White".

On Friday June 22, 2018, The Berlin Blue Wall Art Gallery hosted the GuruShots event, “The Art of Black and White.” GuruShots is an online gallery where everyone is encouraged to submit their photographs or other types of media expressing their artwork.

This online photography platform has helped to revolutionize the way we consume and rate our art. Rather than be dictated to by critics, Gurushots, uses a community voting system which allows artists from all over the world the opportunity to promote their art, and discover and connect with other artists on the same path.

This event presented photographs by artists and organizations world-wide: it showcased over 600 pictures from 90 different countries. The goal of the exhibit was to create a provocative and fascinating example of what refugees, and other individuals fleeing their...

June 24, 2018

The US Government's recent policy U-turn over the separation and incarceration of children represents a small victory, however, we still have a long way to go.

Recently, an influx of videos, photos, and news stories have surfaced, documenting the policy of family separation taking place on America’s southwestern border. This evidence has provoked a mountain of outrage among concerned American citizens, as well as voices internationally. On Monday, the United Nations’ top human rights official Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein joined in condemnation of the American policy, calling it “unconscionable” that the United States would attempt prevention of illegal immigration by forcibly separating children from their parents.

 Image via The Washington Post

Criticism of these practices has notably crossed partisan lines, with former Republican first lady Laura Bush among those speaking out. One photo (pictured above) of a two-year-old sobbing as U.S. border agents pat down her mother has been shared over a...

June 22, 2018

This week at PTC, we go collage-crazy with textile artist, Diane Levoie, and look forward to the exciting month ahead!

It has been a very exciting week here at Pass the Crayon. While we had just one workshop, we remained busy with new faces, and lots of looking ahead towards an action-filled next couple of weeks. We welcomed a few fresh interns, and got to know our wonderful artist of the week, Diane Levoie. Beyond the work surrounding our Tuesday workshop at Weissensee, we began planning for some exciting upcoming events, including our participation in Welcome Camp 2018 and our summer program with Kreativhaus in July!

This week, kids at the Weissensee center used fabric, scissors, and glue to create colorful images through collage. Friend of Pass the Crayon and our Artist of the Week, Diane Levoie, a contemporary folk artist who specializes in creating fabric-based collage art, led this weeks session.

"Heading up the fabric collage workshop on June 12 was a great experie...

June 20, 2018

As World Refugee Day rolls round again, and we bear witness to more draconian border policies, divisive media coverage and extreme political views than ever before, let's take time to reflect not upon our differences, but on our similaritiesThis can sometimes be expressed better in pictures rather than words...

So, here are some pieces of art made by children living in refugee shelters in Berlin. We work with these kids every week, making different types of art. Whether it's graffiti, or puppets, or dioramas, we have noticed that no matter what the task, the same themes and motifs occur in all of the children's work. These concepts are universal and are shared by all people- men, women and children- no matter who they are, or where they are from. 

As we get older, and life becomes much more complicated and scary, it is easy to lose sight of the things which are truly important and bring value to life- family, friends, community, home. With children, especially, these ideas a...

June 18, 2018

In this week's 'Artist of the Week', I talk memories, lost friendships, aliens(!), plants, and much much more, with textile artist and friend of Pass the Crayon, Diane Lavoie.

Diane Lavoie has experimented with many different styles over her artistic life, creating a large and eclectic body of work which fluctuates from multi-media installations, to hand-painted silk. Whilst her subject matter and methods have changed with time, Diane has continuously used textiles as her preferred medium, developing a sensitive and powerful story-telling ability.

Using small pieces of fabric glued or stitched together, Diane creates intricate works which sometimes take months to finish. Favouring a 2D approach rather than sculpture, she uses a large piece of material as the canvas for her work, and then builds up from there, adding layers of fabric to create detailed designs.

One of my favourite pieces by Diane is 'Badlands' from her 'Park' series. The fabric provides a gorgeous textu...

June 11, 2018

Welcome to this week's bumper edition of PTC Weekly. It's been a busy (and very colourful!) few weeks for us, filled with paint, mess and pieces of coloured paper...


Two weeks ago (June 3rd) we implemented our new 'Age Strategy'. We decided to do this because we have a large amount of kids to cater for at the Pankow shelter, and certain art activities are not suitable for younger years, and similarly, some of the older kids often do not wish to participate in activities that are not geared to their age range. For this reason we have introduced an age restriction. Our current series, "Painting like the Masters", is open to kids of 9 years and above. We decided to make this change because we realised that by working in smaller groups we can devote more attention to individual kids, they have the benefit of working in a quieter atmosphere, and our art activities can be specifically tailored to their age range.

This was the first week that we tried it, and it was re...

June 7, 2018

With a cheerful disregard for perspective, impulsive brushstrokes, bold outlines and flamboyant colour, Henri Matisse, the 'wild beast', and our Artist of the Week, creates paintings that excite the senses.

After ditching his legal day job, the young Henri Matisse (1869-1954) made the artistic pilgrimage to Paris, to seek out training at the illustrious Parisian art schools. But, like many of his contemporaries, including last week's Artist of the Week, Claude Monet, Matisse eventually gave up trying to curry favour with the traditionalist fuddy-duddys at the Salon du Paris, instead opting for a far more emotional and vibrant style, which spawned it's very own (if short-lived) artistic movement.

Inspired by artists such as Van Gogh (who Mattisse declared he loved more than his own father!), and taken under the wing of visionary teacher and controversial professor at the École des Beaux-Arts, Gustav Moreau, Matisse began to experiment with bold colours and brushstrokes, see...

June 7, 2018

Upcycling nonprofit, Mimycri, turn abandoned lifeboats used to carry migrants across the Mediterranean, into stylish bags and accessories. I attended their recent fashion show to find out more...

The first bag on the runway was a rucksack made of pink, black, white and green canvas pieces, stitched together in a stylish geometric design. More and more models strode proudly down the catwalk sporting a mixture of satchels, holdalls, bumbags and rucksacks, each one totally unique.

Hassan was present at the fashion show, where he and a co-worker introduced the show by saying a few words in German. It was heartwarming to see how much pride and thought had gone into the whole event, and to see newcomers actively involved in the process, every step of the way.

Image via UNHCR

As I watched the canvas creations emerge on the runway, many thoughts ran through my head: How many lives have those life rafts helped to save? And, how many had they lost? How would I feel, as a refugee who had perhaps trav...

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