Loving Kindness: A Children’s and Teens’ Art Exhibition about Mindfulness
January 27-March 13, 2022
Payne Art Gallery
Sunday, March 13, 2022: Loving Kindness: A Mini-Conference on the Benefits and Cautions of Mindfulness in Education
- Kristin Baxter, Ed.D. Associate Professor of Art & Director of the Art Education Program
- Kin Cheung, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Asian Religions
This show supports Moravian University’s 2021-2022 InFocus theme of “Health and Justice.”
Moravian University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Kristin Baxter email@example.com or Kin Cheung firstname.lastname@example.org at least one week prior to the event.
This exhibition and programming has been generously supported by:
- Shanthi Project
- Moravian University Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Moravian University Office of Student Life
- Moravian University Center for Career & Civic Engagement
Graphic Design work by Janessa Ternosky
The curators wish to also thank: Blair Flintom and the Music Department
Mindfulness programs have grown rapidly in PreK-12 public and private schools, museums, and community programs throughout the US. Locally, in the Bethlehem Area School District, schools have dedicated meditation spaces for students and staff, such as Liberty High School and at Donegan Elementary School. Marvine Elementary School was also recently the site of research on the impact of mindfulness programs for young children. A growing number of educators regularly guide children and teens in mindfulness practices, which are often followed by art lessons where students create works of art with mindfulness as the inspiration.
What is often overlooked is that mindfulness practices have their roots in sacred Buddhist religious traditions. To address this gap, this exhibition will include a one-day conference on March 13, titled Loving Kindness: A Mini-Conference on the Benefits and Cautions of Mindfulness in Education, where educators can learn more about the spiritual and religious origins of mindfulness, and ways to mitigate negative consequences of cultural appropriation as we use mindfulness principles in educational and other secular settings.
The literal faces that represent mindfulness meditation are young photogenic white women. Mindfulness is touted as a panacea, and more importantly, presented as a secular activity separate from Asian Buddhist creators/teachers and Asian communities. This is not isolated to mindfulness, as the May 2021 ruling in Alabama shows: yoga can be offered in public schools there as long as Asian words are not being used or taught! The panel discussion addresses the erasure of Asian history, roots, and words. We advocate for religious literacy: for instance, turning to Indian notions of dharma (truth/teachings/law) and Chinese understanding of 教 jiao (n. teachings/religion, v. to cause/tell/make) to question Anglophone distinctions between secular and religious.
We are in the process of securing the option of offering ACT 48 professional development hours for Pennsylvania teachers for this panel discussion, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Art Education Association.
We aim to curate an exhibition that responds to this question: What role can art and mindfulness play in helping an individual and society build equitable, diverse, inclusive, flourishing and healthy communities?
An exhibition catalogue will include essays from the panelists, as well as photographs of the works of art in the exhibition.