Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Age Range in an Art Class

I've made an interesting observation within my last few kid's art workshops; an age range in class is beneficial to the creative process.

Now, I haven't done any scientific, psychological studies or anything, but I do spend a lot of time with children and their art. It seems that around third or fourth grade children start to fear creativity. They begin to feel anxious about being right versus wrong (understandably in our test-crazy educational system.) Some have a hard time with the whole trying and not caring if it's perfect. It is almost as if they have begun to define themselves as artistic or not-artistic.

Kindergartners are fun to watch doing art. They are boundless with their creations, happy to mix a paint color and never actually apply it to a canvas. Exploring and trying to do something as simple as drawing a star can give them immeasurable pleasure, and upon their success the gratification is the joy of being able to guide their mind and their hand together.

A parent asked if I was going to start splitting up my classes by age. I respect that question and certainly someone in upper middle school and in high school might have a hard time in the same class as a first grader that doesn't comprehend in-depth instruction. But, after I thought about it I figured that first graders in the same art classes as seventh graders could actually benefit both parties.

The free-flowing creativity of younger students and the detail orientation and calm of older students are a great combination in an art classroom. The energy rises and falls and ultimately, they inspire each other.

Falling Leaves - celebrating the changing season with art

My favorite part of the workshops happens after everyone leaves and I'm left to stare at the creations. Don't judge:) I mean the statement in the best possible way.

During a workshop I get caught up in the intensity and energy in the classroom as students work on their pieces. I love it. And then when it becomes quiet and empty I organize the drying paintings and view them one at a time. It never fails. I'm repeatedly amazed at what is before me. Every piece is beautiful. Every artist shares a little bit of their magic and paints something only they could paint, and what a gift that I get, to witness that moment.

Acrylic - Fourth Grader

Acrylic - Eighth Grader

Acrylic - First Grader

Acrylic - Fourth Grader

Watercolor - Fourth Grader

Acrylic - Third Grader

Watercolor - Second Grader

Acrylic - Fourth Grader
Acrylic - Second Grader

Watercolor, Resistant - Fourth Grader

Acrylic - Fourth Grader 
Acrylic - Fifth Grader

Acrylic - Fourth Grader

Acrylic - Third Grader