changes in the making for elementary art

I have been busy in the studio and at shows recently and just letting myself settle with the idea of not being in a classroom this year.

Still wanting to bring art to elementary age kids,but how?

Still wanting to be true to my beliefs about why I like to do it in a public school classroom.

I like the public school setting in that it allows for a more equitable distribution of the subject matter (as opposed to kids who get art classes outside of school for a price). Not everyone can afford to attend those kind of classes. I also like to see art offered alongside the core classes of math, reading, and social studies as opposed to seeing it always offered as an “extra”. It means something different.

But alas, one cannot always have what one wants. So rather than force the issue, I decided to let it rest and see what came to me.

Here’s what has been offered- regular workshop space at the local library’s community room on Saturday mornings at the Dana Branch Library, Long Beach. We provide the lessons, gather materials, & donate our time. The library provides the space, a teeny weeny budget (for filling their display cases with art), and hopefully some storage space for materials.

So now Penny & I have spent some time thinking about how to structure it. We are not interested in a babysitting/drop off/drop in situation. We want there to be a complete lesson offered each time followed by hands on working/studio time. We want to limit the minimum age to 9 years old. Here’s what we are thinking:

-two Saturday morning workshops a month (starting this December and probably only one this first month) Each month we will explore one theme or genre.
-the class starts at 10 AM sharp. no late comers. 30 minute oral/visual presentation followed by an hour of hands on art making.
-at 11:30 (until 12:30) we will open the doors to drop ins who can take advantage of the set-up and materials to explore the topic on hand.
-any students who were there for the formal class will be invited to continue working and teach/ share
alongside the newcomers thereby further enhancing their experience and that of the drop ins.
-this will be free but donations for materials will be greatly appreciated.
-we will plan the year in advance as we did for the classroom and due to my travel/teaching/show schedule we may invite some other working guest artists to come and visit/teach with us.

Well, that’s the idea so far. Any thoughts and suggestions are welcome. We are filling out the paperwork required by the city and will hand it over to the librarian this week. She will approve it for co-sponsorship so as to bypass any fees etc.. Hope to get started after the Thanksgiving break.



Filed under art education, artists teaching art, elementary art education, Long Beach art, not LBUSD, shibori girl, teaching kids art, Uncategorized

6 responses to “changes in the making for elementary art

  1. you know this is a great idea….i have been thinking too about offering a creative atmosphere… i am volunteering to hold some classes in a nearby rehab/ nursing home. the one where my father spent so much “un-quality” time in before he passed away. what the world needs now is making things, sweet making things.

  2. hmm. can’t wait to hear how this turns out. Will the kids register in advance? I’m not so sure how that drop it situation will work(the part after you’ve given the formal lesson)–but try it and let us know.
    don’t forget name tags and have the kids sign in so you can track how many student you have for future…
    good luck!!

  3. Do gelatin printing with the kids — they’ll love it!
    As a matter of fact, so will the oldies.

  4. i love this idea. I have been thinking of some way to offer a space for people of any age to come and make art, and this sounds like a wonderful way to do it! I hadn’t thought of the library, but it would be a perfect location.

    Good luck to you!

  5. i think what you are doing and offering is amazing…what beautiful thoughtful people you must be…

    one thing that i think kids would like is ATC’s. they can be cut out of recycled cardboard and all they really need is magazines to cut up and glue…

    there are clubs on yahoo that the kids can trade in and they can trade among also introduces them to a very current art theme across the world…mixed media and recycling – green art – found objects etc…

    if you have any questions, i’d be happy to answer…

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