My Involvement with the Community Arts Programme in Thailand
- Hallie Morisson
Hallie Morisson is an American artist-scholar that earned a Master of Arts in Creative Process from a new Irish institution called Uversity. Hallie has volunteered in Thailand for 7 weeks. Following this experience, Hallie has recently become the new Art Director of the host organisation in Thailand.
I first went to Thailand via a scholarship from CIT and a desire to volunteer abroad in an art therapy or alternative art related education setting. When I was applying for the scholarship I was inspired by my own ability to adapt and learn in a new country on my Uversity experience in Ireland, and realized I wanted to volunteer in the eastern hemisphere, which I had never been to before. I wanted to volunteer in an environment that doesn't normally speak a romance language. I decided to apply for a Volunteer Abroad Scholarship offered by CIT, which was not a mandatory part of any of my Uversity or partner institution programming. I was thrilled to see that an Community Arts programme exists in Thailand, apply to volunteer there, and be granted to scholarship to do so. The opportunity and location encapsulates many of my passions for art therapy, alternative art related education, vegan food, mountains and tropical climate, ancient and contemporary worlds, and more.
I was supposed to stay in Thailand for 6 weeks, but I ended up staying for 7. Once I arrived at Art project to volunteer, I learned of their upcoming exhibition, for which I would facilitate some of the artwork workshops with our partner organizations. I became serious about the exhibition preparations we made, and even delivered some of the exhibition artwork workshops myself. Leading up to the exhibition, our Art Director became ill and I took on more responsibilities to make the exhibition a success. I loved stepping up because I got to showcase many of my professional artistic and organizational skills. I ended up staying a 7th week to be at the opening night of the exhibition, which was a hit, and was called "Right of Passage." The title and concept is a play-on-words of rite and right, which in the context of the marginalized communities we work with--the artists in the exhibition--was a very meaningful debut of unheard voices to the Chiang Mai public. The exhibition of artworks by our various partners groups (hill tribe groups, local orphanages, Burmese refugees, children and adults with physical and mental disabilities, and more) served an opportunity for their voices to be seen by the public, as to raise awareness for future connections and support within Chiang Mai, and internationally.