Saturday, March 12, 2005

Rewards of teaching art to children

This past week was the end of my current contract as a visiting artist teaching art to elementary school kids in a school with no art teacher and no formal art program.

At the beginning of the school year, I had a 1st grader who announced to me that he "hated art" and wasn't going to do the lessons. Two days ago he showed me his art project and wanted it put up in the school hallway. Another child thought the current project "too hard!" but by the end of the hour he had completed a beautiful drawing that showed he had an eye for color. A teacher of one of the bilingual 3rd grades had her children produce cards for me as a thank-you for the art lessons throughout the year. Many of them made me laugh, but one drawing had be with a brush and palette in my arms painting something on an easel. What attracted my attention was that I was wearing a beret! Now I don't remember attending any class with a beret on, but somewhere she had seen the stereotypical depiction of an artist and decided that was me.

During the year it has always buoyed me up that when I entered a classroom with my "art cart" the children were always pleased to see me and were upbeat about anything I was going to present to them. Wouldn't it be great if art was as uplifting to all people?

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