Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Not really one for art....

Last year at Family Partnership art was taught by a woman hired by the school. I thought she was a great teacher. She was a bit scattered, and often seemed overwhelmed, but the way she talked to and encouraged the kids to do what they wanted and as much or as little as they wanted was impressive. Fletcher participated some days and not others. We loved everything he made, but did not push him when he was not interested.
This year the art class is taught by a parent from Big Sur Charter School. She uses some type of dvd art curriculum. (I was very skeptical of the format, I don't like the idea of art being so, I don't know, hands off, generic, boring. These are all judgments made without any experience of the actual program mind you.)
Truly though, art is really very close to my heart. From the time Fletch could hold a paintbrush I painted with him. For us that usually met me setting everything up and him pouring the paint onto his paper or fabric, and then painting his body.
That worked for me. I love the process. I would just sit beside him and do my own painting. Pure bliss.
So, this year he's done the same: participate some days and not so much on others - and again he's brought home some amazing work that we treasure. Each week we'd talk about what they learned and he always said he enjoyed the the class. Here's the thing though, just about every Tuesday when Jim picked him up, that teacher would make a comment like, "You know Fletcher, he wasn't really interested." as she handed over whatever he had worked on.

HUH!? Who gives a shit? Why are you judging my kid's interest?

I don't know, just kinda rubs me the wrong way. I can understand, if he is disruptive to the class, lets deal with that. I don't think so though. I just think she had to pull it out of him. I think she saw a kid who was not all that interested in art. I don't know, maybe she thought it would bother us if he wasn't producing.
What bothered me was that bit of judgment.

Art, creativity,
1. the state or quality of being creative.
2. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; orginality, progressiveness, or imagination.
1. the quaility , production, expressions, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, or what is beautiful,
appealing, or of more than ordinary significance...
9. skill in conducting any human activity.)

takes so many forms: music, drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, photography, s u re all that. More though, so much more: gardening, cooking, dancing, exercise, wood work, car work, tree climbing, playing house, storytelling, brewing beer, even house work can be creative.

I see so much creativity around. Kids by nature and choice are creating constantly.
Watch, you'll see it.

We still paint together at home, usually I set it all up for him and Maggy and let them go to town. They both start out with the intended project, then Fletcher usually ends his session by painting a warrior face. (Maggy is another story altogether).

So, by chance, a few nights ago I pulled out two old and mostly unused sketch books. We gave one to each of the kids. Fletch got Jim's from an art class he took at Cuest a:

He took the book into his sanctuary (bedroom) with colored pencils and worked quietly for some time before we realized what he was doing. Guess what? The boy just needed to find his own way, his own inspiration, his own desire to create art.

And it's so much better that way! When you really think about what he was doing, without anyone asking him to produce art: he was putting his own imagination, what he sees in his mind down on paper to share with the rest of us. It's utterly amazing! Jim and I were both stunned. Not because we thought he couldn't do it, and not because we thought he would not want to do it, but because it's just beautiful and exciting - this peek into Fletcher's world.

And still, creativity - it's constant, it's in us all. See it, feel it, embrace it for what it is - life lived in the moment.

some pictures of art work were deleted due to artist's request for privacy, despite the blog author's great distress.

1 comment:

Melinda said...

I TOTALLY agree. This lady is not providing an environment that is comfortable for Fletch.Either in attitude or whatever. I think that environment is so important in allowing your creativity to flow. At home he feels free and it all comes. He senses her judgement.