In our crunched time of public spending and budget cuts, more often than not, the first thing to hit the trash pile in our schools are the programs surrounding arts. Art programs are responsible for half of the development of our children’s brains, but often get treated as a luxury and, therefore, often discarded with little more thought than their monetary value. We could very well wallow in the injustice of it all, but step back and realize that the sheer soul of art thrives in an oppressive environment. Some of the most meaningful and moving pieces have come from somebody saying, “you can’t do that”.
If your child’s school has suffered an arts cut back or simply wasn’t there to begin with, then the time has come to channel your inner Ginsberg and Howl! These are the times where as parents we should be finding ways to celebrate our little Mary Cassatt’s and Rembrandt's.
Here are five ways to properly pay homage and inspire our little’s to create!
1. Rotating Frame
The brainstorm that resulted in this very blog produced this idea. This is an idea that admittedly I have not incorporated in my own home yet, but one that I certainly plan to. If you have more than one tiny artist in the house or one that paints with the passion of Jackson Pollock, then fridge space is at a premium. Why not set aside a prominent spot on a wall in your home for a frame to rotate and showcase your pick-of-the-week/month (time frames open to suggestion). Make certain that the frame is large enough to hold (reasonable) variations in art sizes. The last thing we want to do is tell our children that their art needs to be 5x7 or it just won’t make the cut. Then pick a different piece of art produced by your child to display for the designated time for all to see. This will be a confidence builder and allow the child to be celebrated for creating, as well as allowing your fridge to look like a fridge rather than a huge decoupage project.
2. Personal Email Addresses
This is an idea that my wife and I do utilize and have had a lot of fun with. Set up an email address for your kids. Don’t tell anybody but you and your partner and safely secure the password for later use. We use this email address to send our kids thoughts, pictures, words of wisdom, fresh memories, etc. from time-to-time. The idea is to give the kids their password when they become old enough to truly digest the contents and use it as inspiration for life (17-18 years old). Working in tandem with this topic, once your child’s art is removed from the marquis placement in the frame, take a picture of the piece and send it to their email address. Rest assured that when the picture is in the frame, they are admiring their work the whole time it’s up there, whether you notice it or not. Chances are when they get to see it again later in life, it will remind them of a simpler time.
3. Make Supplies Readily Available
What good is the box of crayons up on the high shelf? Why would you want the only paper in the house to come from the office printer where they are not allowed to go? Put your children’s art supplies where they can grab them at a seconds notice. A true artist knows no schedule and inspiration can (and will) strike at odd times. This time should not be squandered looking for a pen and something to write on. NOTE: this does not apply to scissors. When you make scissors available to little fingers pets and siblings get haircuts. Keep those up high!
4. Art Classes
If you witness your little people creating a lot of art, sticking to one singular medium when choices are available, or talking a lot about something artistic, find a way to enroll them in a class outside of school. Talk to the about the option to learn from a professional in a learning environment and let them see that you are in tuned with their inner voice. Most communities have learning annex’s or even private enterprise options offering everything from cartooning to beginning sculpture. Observe and listen to your artist and see if you can take their learning to another level.
5. Point Out “The Arts”
One of my favorite movie quotes is from Joe Versus the Volcano. “My father says that nearly the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody your see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant total amazement”. BE AMAZED…BE AWAKE! There is art all around our daily lives. Art that we pass with little to no thought or even notice. This does not have to be paint on canvas or a 30-foot statue. Art can be a sunset or somebody playing piano in a mall. Our job is to stop and bring these crumbs of inspiration to the attention of our own little minds. Show them that art is constantly being created and presented to us everywhere we go and that whenever they feel ready, they too should feel like being a part of the movement. Whatever their medium is, there is no wrong way to do it and all art has an audience. This is a huge confidence builder.
There are many more ways to inspire, nurture and celebrate our tiny Picasso’s, and these are just a few. Let us know of ways that you inspire art, because after all, there is no right or wrong way!