I found some old report cards that my mother kept. One was from my kindergarten teacher. In the report she praised my art ability and said she wanted my parents to keep in touch and let her know how I was doing.
I decided to try and reach out to her and let her know how I turned out. She had an online presence and I sent an email. I invited her to my opening at Grounds for Sculpture in 2011.
Mabel and I reunited at the opening. She is shorter than I remember!
I have so many very clear memories of my time in kindergarten. I was so curious about learning and loved school and Mrs Willing. After that I mostly remember the stings and bruises of surviving school. As a teaching type we put ourselves out there trying to spark that curiosity for learning in others. We never know what tiny differences we make in the lives of others. I’m old enough to have some students quote me though. It’s kind of scary but they where good quotes. My kindergarten teacher gave me the courage to stay curious throughout my life. I am so happy to have shared my story with her and have her in my life again. I am still learning from this remarkable educator
So if you can…… tell a teacher you love them!
Suri is going into 6th grade in September. She had this green toy that you can pull and stretch. I said I wanted to get one for my friend Jaquese who loves to tear and pull things apart. He is a Bancroft student who I adore. He is in a wheelchair and has a strong arm and a weak one. He will go nuts for this toy I said and showed Suri his picture. She asked to borrow the sharpie I had and quietly washed the toy and redrew the eyes and mouth. She gave the toy to me at the end of our time together to give to Jaquese. It still brings me close to tears thinking of this generous modest spirit in one so young. She has a special needs sister that can be difficult. She handles it with such love,empathy, and understanding. She makes me so happy in this world that makes me sad,angry, and depressed. This kid makes me feel hopeful that the world has more kindness than I could possibly imagine.
Can’t wait to bring it to Jaquese
Love you Suri
I recently found a great website ipadartroom.com. This teacher is amazing and encourages using an Ipad as an art making tool no more precious than a crayon. I’ve torn through most of her lessons. You want to respect your art materials and maybe an Ipad more since it’s pricey….BUT… At least for me it’s been used too preciously and therefore not enough. For me personally this has helped with artist block. What I’ve learned is that having the integrated camera makes drawing more spontaneous. I can snap a pic and use it as a starting point by tracing. Layers make experimenting easy. I can try all sorts of things ie: colors,tracing with out starting all over again. To be able to undo and delete is liberating. I believe this will be as great with kids that think they can’t make art as it’s been for me. I’ve been obsessed with drawing on the thing. I’ve been using the free Adobe draw app.
I love this photo of the proud artist and it’s even in focus.
Yesterday I did 3 workshops at the Moore symposium “Sculptural Practices for Diverse Learning Needs”. I work with kids and doing the professional development with teachers required by grants always scares the shit out of me. I’m not a real teacher and I find them intimidating. I had to write an academic sounding description for the workshop so it was Creating a Large Vision through Cooperation. Writing really isn’t my thing as those of you following this blog may have noticed.
Most of my photos are out of focus but I’m adding some anyway. Not only do teachers scare me but I rarely agree to do one time workshops. I think of them as fast food artmaking like a McDonalds happy art meal. I like to work with a group for at least 12 days so I get to know students. I found that it wasn’t so bad and wasn’t so scary once I got started. Somehow there were classes full of grownups smiling, talking, and playing nice with others. The room was full of laughing, and chatter. The big creative mess we made pleased me the most. It is possible I prefer the longer experience because I see progress. In these one time workshops I just have to have faith that some learning has taken place and get used to it.
It went well. When I looked at the photos I took there were lots of smiles in a room that looked like art was happening. I might be open to doing this kind of thing again!
One young woman disappeared at the end of class and left this piece. It says it all.
I saw Janice Merendino at her opening recently at Cerulean Gallery ceruleanarts.com. It reminded me of the best gift I received for graduating from Moore College of Art. Janice bought a toy I made. I can’t remember what the toy was but getting that money after graduation is something I’ve never forgotten. It was my first sale. A sale that at that point in my life allowed me to buy that router that I use to this day. More importantly it made my life choice seem more possible.