Kids make extraordinary masks for a good cause in art therapy class

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Friday, September 16, 2022
Kids make extraordinary masks for a good cause in art therapy class
This weekend, "Say it With Clay" will auction artwork made by creators with diverse abilities at its annual fundraiser.

COLLINGSWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Abbie Kasoff had never heard of art therapy until she attended college in the mid 1980s.

"Learning to use art to help people that have trouble communicating verbally, I was like, oh my gosh, I want to do that," she said.

Kasoff went on to create the nonprofit, "Say it With Clay," which breaks the mold of traditional therapy by introducing malleable materials into the mix.

"We use hands-on play programming for children and adults with disabilities and/or temporarily struggling with anything," she said.

One of her art students is 11-year-old Abby Boehmke, who joined several years ago to help manage her anxiety.

"Anxiety feels like something's, like, telling you can't do something," she said. "But then when you do it, you realize you can."

Abby's mother, Elizabeth, said art therapy made the difference because it allowed her daughter to open up and speak more candidly about difficult situations.

"With art therapy, she could distract herself within the art," said Elizabeth Boehmke. "That was the key thing. It at least gave her something to focus on while she talks."

Say it With Clay has been able to help many more students like Abby thanks to its art therapy.

This Saturday, September 17th at 6:00pm, the 7th iteration of the fundraiser, "Faces of Value," will take place. An in-person event at the studio with music and drinks will be complimented by a week-long virtual auction for more than 100 one-of-a-kind masks. The proceeds will be directed towards a scholarship fund that helps students enroll in programming.

"I can't believe what we've done in the last 10 years and I'm so excited for the next 10 years and see where we go," said Abbie Kasoff.

To learn more about Say it With Clay, visit their website.

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