Zentangle Inside a Detention Center as a Ministry of Presence

It has been a privilege to do art with women and children who are incarcerated inside a detention center (while they await the slow process of seeking asylum in the U.S. from the violence in their home countries in Central America). Zentangle is easy to prep and pack and really requires only basic art supplies. (Of course you can snazzy it up with all kids of materials, but it also works very well with just the basics.) I wanted to do an art process which could be easily done without me present in the future/in-between visits. The basic supply list included:

  1. 4.5"x 6.5"black/white card stock used for scrap booking. Each participant received one piece of each color and they were invited to do one design on the front and one on the back of each piece.
  2. Black lead pencils. 
  3. Colored ink pens.
  4. Simple student set of watercolors with 6 small brushes to be used to embellish details.
  5. A pitcher for water and four cups.
  6. Half a dozen Zentangle books to help the participants with ideas.
In addition, I also had a small tabletop chalkboard (a trendy item from Hobby Lobby that a friend had given me as a gag gift for my birthday). My Spanish is "polite conversational Spanish" without the necessary vocabulary to use words to teach. Instead, I used the chalkboard to visually demonstrate the basic concepts of doing Zentangle.
Ages for participation ranged from 5-15. A few mothers participated too.

The most difficult concept to get across was the small size of the paper. Small is GOOD!

These ideas were copied from books. It was very empowering for the kids to produce cool images.

Watercolor on black paper was a popular/spontaneous addition to the art experience.