Art from the Heart: Four Local Students Explore Healing with Horses Print
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 08:39

While the start of the school year finds many reminiscing about lazy summer days of play and relaxation, four young local artists spent a week of their vacation exploring the unique healing powers of horses.  As part of the Murals course at Rivermont Collegiate Summer Camp 2012, four students created a truly impressive 5’ x 7’ mural on canvas drop cloth to be displayed in the arena/pole barn at Juan Diez Rancheros in Davenport.

Before beginning, students spoke with Juan Diez Rancheros about their mission and explored the purpose of their mural.  Juan Diez Rancheros is a non-profit program offering free horse therapy for children who have been abused or emotionally traumatized, with the use of rescued horses.  The program is unlike any other horse therapy offered in the Quad Cities, with testimonials describing children who have become more conversational, trusting, expressive, and patient after interacting with the horses.

Rivermont Mural Presentation at Juan Diez Rancheros.JPG

Rivermont students Dwira Nandini (5th grade), Asha Alla (5th grade), Adam Chamberlain (6th grade), and Maryam Rasheed (6th grade) chose to paint a young girl interacting with a horse with the Centennial Bridge in the background.  This was an ambitious project – work was completed in only about two days!  Dwira, Asha, Adam, and Maryam chose the bridge to represent the Quad Cities and symbolize “bridging the gap” - connecting the child’s heart with the horse’s heart.  They chose to paint silhouettes so that any child could picture themself as the subject of the mural.  The group brainstormed for the ideal words to encircle the image, with each student ultimately selecting one of the four – caring, hope, friendship, and healing.  Maryam explained the soft, cool colors were chosen to express a mood of friendship and bonding.  Her favorite aspects of the project included painting the figures – the girl and the horse having “a moment” – and learning how horses can connect to children and help them overcome trauma.

Students delivered the mural to Juan Diez Rancheros on Friday, August 3rd and it has been described as an “incredible display of inspiration.”  Tremendous thanks go out to the leaders of the Murals course, Dominic Velando and Laura Klavitter, without which this project could not have been completed.

For more information on Juan Diez Rancheros, visit

For more information on Rivermont Collegiate, visit

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