The Osmosis Education Mentoring Initiative™ Express YourSelf-Portrait is designed to encourage young people to follow positive career paths in art and design. The Express YourSelf-Portrait program creates self-esteem by having kids paint a portrait of themselves with the assistance of a professional designer or artist. Osmosis design and art professionals will work one-on-one with children to help each of them use the basic principles of design, such as color, line and shape, to create a large-scale self-portrait. We use the facilities of the Chicago Public Library to encourage reading as well as artistic expression. The children, parents and volunteers read positive, affirming literature before and during the portrait painting. Kids are able to use this art medium to learn more about themselves. It’s an opportunity for them to explore their self concepts in a unique and expressive way. For each of them, the artwork is a reflection of his or her own self-image.” This introduces kids to creative people of color while reinforcing the possibility of the children having a career in the arts. Kids are encouraged to give the portraits titles and to take the portraits home when complete or have them displayed at the library in the communities in which they live.

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