Do I Dare?

Here are two things I love: little kids and art. No, three things: little kids, art, and making messes. Lately I’ve been thinking about combining them all conveniently into small weekly sessions. Friends of mine have repeatedly asked why I haven’t done this already. I’m running out of excuses, although I think that the fact I have no really good location to set up stands out tremendously. Other thoughts?

  • I have a graphic design degree. Not a teaching degree, not a fine art degree. A graphic design degree, specifically chosen so that I could rake in the big bucks in the land of commercial art and advertising. You see how far I’ve come.
  • I love, love, love kids and I love how rules-free and creative they naturally are. I love drawing and painting and messing around with different materials and techniques. I love color and texture and light and combinations. I love starting something one way and ending it in a completely different way.
  • I hate crafting. I hate the word “project”. I hate restrictions. I hate expectations. Parents love a good, identifiable picture. They like the idea of their child masterfully using a paintbrush to produce artistic glory on a rectangular white canvas. They like something they can frame, especially when they’re paying good money for it.
  • My idea of art doesn’t always involve a finished product. I feel like little kids–even the antsy ones (maybe especially the antsy ones)–love art. But I think that the older they get, the more conservative/restricted they become, for one reason or another– maybe it’s their family’s focus on academics or sports, maybe it’s the on-the-go nature of our society that doesn’t allow time for true creativity. Maybe it’s the public school mindset of “quick, learn this technique involving markers and construction paper in less than 30 minutes, and come up with something that looks just like what I showed you, so that you can satisfy your parents with an “A” in art, and I can satisfy the school district so they don’t cut our already-ridiculously-limited-funding.”

So, with all that said, I don’t see why I can’t dust off all my ginormous art textbooks, go back over some of my favorite artists, gather together 4 or 5 kids (ages 2-3, 4-6, possibly even 7-8), and get straight messy with a wide variety of materials and techniques that even my dog could figure out. I suppose rather than teaching art as it is defined by most people, I would be more or less supervising while the kids did the experimenting and expressing; any creation to come out of a day’s “lesson” would be praised and prized by me, the kids, and hopefully their parents.

So….do I set this up and get on it before summer’s end? Or do I ponder it for a few more months and set out some feelers for a trial class in the fall? Is this something people would even go for? Opinions/suggestions/advice/thoughts in general are greatly appreciated.

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About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

4 responses to “Do I Dare?

  • birdonthestreet (@birdonthestreet)

    My friend who taught art did longer, more involved projects in the summer, but over a short period of time–she called it “art camp.” Usually smalls in the morning and big kids in the afternoon for like two weeks. During the school year she would do a shorter, regularly occurring class that last for a semester. Yay, Toni!

  • Joell

    I love this idea, Toni! Run with it, girl!

    As the mama of an artsy girl, I really love the idea of kids getting to spend time on learning a technique/seeing it demonstrated and then just letting the kids do whatever they like with that. In my opinion, it is not about teaching, or having a teaching degree. It is about giving kids freedom to create with a little guidance beforehand and then letting them see what they can do!

    Call it creative art/expression…not a project. And if it is friends of yours asking about you doing it, then they probably know how you roll. Their expectations would probably different from the general parental population. If I lived in your neck of the woods, I would totally be all over that for Emma!

  • Jeralyn

    YES YES YES

  • Jeralyn

    I definitely think you should start a little summer ART PROGRAM. The kids are out of school so your time frame is more flexible,After the summer experience, you’ll know whether you would like to do one during the school year. My kids went to Miss Becky’s art class after school….can’t remember if it was one day a week or 2. All their work stayed at her house until the ART RECITAL. On that evening she had everyone’s projects displayed plus cookies and punch for the kids (and something stronger for the adults! I say go for it!!!!!!

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