The use of art engages the heart and Nature Hexagons created a positive emotional investment by inviting participants to relate to nature through art. Handling nature and engaging the senses helps one develop empathy and connection. Project Play Every Day Director, Lulu Burkhauser, a certified therapist and play therapist guided people through this experience recently at the Electric City Flower Show held at Nay Aug Park in Scranton.
“Every day, our relationship with nature, or lack of it, influences our lives. But in the twenty-first century our survival-or thrival-will require a transformative framework for that relationship, a reunion of humans with the rest of nature. Our culture’s faith in technological immersion seems to have no limits, and we drift ever deeper into a sea of circuitry.”Richard Louv, Journalist and Author
The concept is inspired by one of humankind’s most ancient art forms, the mandala. Nature Hexagon participants were invited to create their own tabletop mandalas. Through the simplicity of sorting, manipulating, and assembling elements such as acorns, leaves, sea shells, sticks and stones, participants became instant artists. With only a few directions, participants of all ages were quickly engaged and produced artwork that is successful no matter the level of skills and understanding they bring to the experience.
Although the mandalas are temporary pieces of art reflecting the impermanence within the natural world and its process and not product-driven., participants had the opportunity to photograph their creations and become part of the International Interdependence Hexagon Project Exhibition, which will open on September 1, 2023 at ArtWorks Gallery and Studios in Scranton. The nurturing and connecting process will be highlighted as it complements the 2023 Hexagon Project Special Theme, Environmental Justice.
Lulu Burkhauser is a native Philadelphian who has recently returned to Pennsylvania after living in Texas, Germany, Ohio, and Arkansas. Before becoming a counselor and play therapist, Lulu produced play-focused events for children and their families through her company, Project Play Every Day. Lulu created ‘pop-up playgrounds’ and in partnership with local community organizations, arts centers, museums, and botanical gardens developed hands-on activities celebrating making ordinary things—-extraordinary.
All events inspired children and adults to become fully engaged with curated collections that sparked curiosity and creativity including hundreds of cardboard boxes, art making through upcycling, building stick forts & fairy houses, and designing mandalas with nature materials. With play as the essential ingredient of programming, children and adults are free to experience connection and joy as they bring about their own learning and memories.