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Activity time: 17 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Arts and crafts supplies such as pipe cleaners, fine-point color markers, water colors and brushes, oil pastels, construction paper, scissors (including left-handed scissors), and tape and glue sticks
  • Clean-up supplies such as paper towels and sponges
  • Bell, tingsha chimes or other sound instrument

Preparation for Activity

  • Obtain diverse arts and crafts materials-the more variety, the better.
  • Set arts and crafts and clean-up supplies at work tables.

Description of Activity

Youth use art to express their feelings about the big questions.

Introduce this creative activity with a quote participants may have considered earlier in Riddle and Mystery (Alternate Activity 6, Session 13), by author Krista Tippett:

In many ways, religion comes from the same place in us that art comes from.

Ask the youth what they think that means. Where is that place that art and religion both come from? Many artists would say it is a place somewhere deep in us which some would call the soul.

Say you want the group to create some simple art now. Point out supplies and invite youth to use any materials they like. The only rule is that the art must have something to do with big questions. Tell the youth they will have ten minutes, and let them begin.

After ten minutes, signal the group with the tingshas to step back from their own work. Invite them to look around at what everybody did. Say, in your own words:

Everybody had the same assignment, yet look at the different responses. What was it that led people to do what they did?

Invite responses. If no one says this, offer, "You each did what felt right to you."

Conclude with comments like these:

People are all different, so we create different art. We do what feels right inside-maybe in our souls-and our souls are all different. If the art we make about big questions is all different, maybe it should not surprise us that to the ways we answer big questions can also be very different. Even close friends and relatives, even people who come to our UU congregation, can have different answers to big questions.

Allow a few minutes for youth to complete their artwork, and a few more minutes for clean-up. Make sure all youth are engaged in clean-up.

Including All Participants

Do not put youth on the spot to share artwork. Avoid discussion that may lead to subjective criticism or teasing; the point of the activity is to reveal and celebrate each individual's different approach to big questions and making art.

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For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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