Please Upgrade Your Browser.

Unfortunately, Internet Explorer is an outdated browser and we do not currently support it. For the best browsing experience, please upgrade to Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Safari.

Upgrade Browser
Stories from the Field
Stories from the Field

Letting Go of Control


When Jenny entered Million Little’s program, her instinct was to stay in her comfort zone by drawing the pattern she often doodles during class. But with the availability of materials, she slowly began to experiment by re-tracing her lines with different colored markers. At the table around her, the other youth explored clay, singing, and painting, loudly conversing and laughing. This was Jenny’s first time joining us, and she was shy in the new environment. But watching the other types of art going on inspired her to try something new-- abstract art.

At first it was difficult to express herself in this new way. She found control to be soothing, and it was a challenge to tap into something different. But earlier she had helped Marie with her project, and now Marie was willing to help Jenny break through her shell and get messy. Together, they began ripping up construction paper. Jenny started out tearing off tiny uniform pieces. But she grew emboldened, and began really letting go by pouring paint, glue, and crumpled papers onto the other half of her artwork. The two used their hands, smearing the paint onto the paper and creating new textures and shapes. In the end, it was a release for  Jenny as she discussed how her day-to-day anxiety can block her from trying new things. But she enjoyed the experience, and was in awe of herself for being able to express a different side of herself.

Quote from the artist:

“This piece is a sort of mixture of calm and control & hectic and freedom. It was definitely something out of my comfort zone because I'm usually not more than one thing at a time. Calm and controlled usually expresses me the best, so to be different was unusually hard. To bring color to something I draw regularly made me very excited. The abstract look of it in general sort of makes me question if I truly did it or not, knowing I had help to get out of the control I really didn’t know I had.”