Sadly, this is the end.

Recently, I’ve been taking stock. Refocusing my lens. Since the move to the library I’ve asked myself why I am doing this. If it still meets my criteria. I’ve discovered that it no longer does. It really has no chance of meeting it, so it has to end-at least for me. Penny may continue on-she hasn’t decided. She is going through the docent training at the LB Museum and will make an excellent docent there.

I hate admitting failure (of sorts) but then again I can’t change the world or save it for that matter. If kids are going to get an arts education it really needs to happen in the public schools-IMHO. For lots of reasons aforementioned in this blog -which I won’t bore you with the details now.

It’s not going to happen in Long Beach. Not for a very long time if ever again in my lifetime anyway. That’s OK. I accept it. I move on.

I recently was invited to and attended a meeting of a focus group called Create Long Beach!. We were asked “What do you think is the most pressing issue for arts and culture in Long Beach? What are our assets?”. My thoughts went as follows:

You want to talk about assets? How about the kids in LB? ALL the kids.

The bottom line for me is that kids are going to need creative skills to get by in the future and they are simply not getting it. And by kids I don’t mean just the kids whose parents find it important or can afford to buy them access. ALL kids. That’s why it has to be done in the public schools.
I don’t think any of us will be served by living in a world where people have lost their ability to create solutions because from what I can see, we’re gonna need LOTS of solutions in our future!

I’m not interested in teaching art for the accolades, or to babysit someone’s kids on a Saturday morning. I am interested in building skills over time- teaching problem solving through art. Because that’s what art is (at least to me) – a method of creating by solving problems step by step.

How can we engage the average person on the street and connect them to the “arts community” when they have no experience of it in the first place-nothing on which to base an understanding of it?

It needs to start there. On the streets and in the schools.

Enough of flashy websites, granted artists, neato slogans and taglines. Teach problem solving through the arts and connect it to everyday life. Teach artists how to make a living. Let artists teach art.

Art in Long Beach=

So in closing, I will leave you with what the City of Long Beach so generously installed up in my neck of the city-

a $104,000 Orange Twist

I don’t fault the artist herself. The city just had it’s priorities screwed up in my opinion. Just because you slam a sculpture into a median strip doesn’t mean you care about art. Just what IS the message here?

I will focus on my own work. Honing my skills and connecting with others who are like-minded. Keeping sane…more or less. Thanks to all of you who have so kindly posted here, made donations, and inspired us over the past several years. We thank you.



Filed under art education, artists teaching art, elementary art education, LBUSD, Long Beach art, shibori girl, teaching kids art

5 responses to “Sadly, this is the end.

  1. hey. i hear you. that orange twist says it all. i have just signed on at the local library to run a saturday weaving workshop for kids. some people called me and asked me about it because they didn’t know what weaving was. is it hopeless?

  2. i shudder to think that there are people even now that don’t know what weaving is! what will become of us in the future? i know it may sound melodramatic but woven cloth is such an essential part of the human experience (we have come to take it for granted) that a basic understanding AT LEAST might be all we can hope for now.

    i hate to think so (is it hopeless?) but all the evidence seems to confirm it. while it is not my usual mindset to be so pessimistic, in this case i feel justified. perhaps if i hadn’t spent over ten years volunteering free art lessons and seen the issues up close and personal, perhaps if i wasn’t a full time artist/maker myself who knows what it takes to survive as one i might not care as much. i even shed a few tears over this, silly as it may seem. but i have come to the conclusion that by ending this perhaps something else will appear in it’s place and if not you can be assured that i have many other ways to spend that time and creative energy.

    do carry on with your saturdays, i think you have the power to plant some seeds of hope and i look forward to hearing more

  3. oh……sad. I can hear you discouragement.
    Your comments to the ‘create long beach’ folks were articulate, and powerful. You’ve fought the good fight, for the sake of the kids…let’s just hope that the cycle will spin and return arts to the schools. I’m hopeful with Obama and his acknowledgement of the arts…..
    I continue with Mundo Lindo, and now an afterschool program for 3-6 graders in San Marcos. The kids are loving the art and so happy to be there. You too have affected many many children in your 10 years of volunteering…celebrate that.
    WE know the value of arts. we know. Others will begin to see it…. I’m hopeful.

  4. Daniel Ludvigson

    I know the feeling. I teach were their hasn’t been an elementry art class for 7 years. The age old “we don’t have the money” saying is to blam. Which is true (sadly) but when I get those kids in middle/high school I have to start with basics they should of learned in elementry (like, what colors mix to make what!)

    But overally I think things will get better, time I think is on the right side.

  5. Dana Loffland

    Hey. I left public middle school art ed after 7 years. Trying to imagine the future of education in general is simply unbelievable. But, in my younger days, I studied Fiber Arts at San Francisco State University under Candace Crockett. We learned everything known about natural and chemical dying, including discharge dying, and Shibori. My fascination was with Ikat dying/weaving. I have just found this group of web sites and am so impressed and I also feel so “at home” reading your blog. Best wishes. Dana

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