June 1, 2018

Summer Art Challenge 2018

What do art teachers love to hear more than anything?

"Kids are drawing ALL THE TIME!!!"

The summer is a great time for students to practice drawing or do whatever art that they love to do. At school, we learn techniques, skills, and content so that some day (hopefully soon) students can apply those artistic skills and habits to creating their own art works independently.

"Down time" in the summer is the best time to create art, when your brain is relaxed and you are open to ideas. There is no pressure and no time limit.

How about some drawing and art challenges for when your family is home or away?
There is one posted on my Art Class web page, or grab a sketchbook or paper and any 2-D media and try some of these:

Check local venues for age-appropriate art camps or courses:

If I'm not working on illustrations or graphic designs, I love to just grab some acrylic and canvas and paint the scenes of summer, like this:

© Kristine Daniels 2017
(See more of my portfolios here: http://kristinedaniels.net)

So,  make an art teacher happy and encourage young people you know to put down the devices and go old school with some art, indoors or out!

August 15, 2017

A Ray of Hope...

A tiny ray of hope to start the new school year:

Yesterday I went to the Whaling National Park Visitor's Center in New Bedford where my students have had 4 collaborative art works on display in an exhibit with the theme "Strength in Diversity". We were asked to create art works that show how the past, present, and futures of our communities are affected and made stronger though our diversity. 

Many of you know I grew up in and now teach in a district that is not known for being as diverse as some of our neighbors. When we started the project back in May, I asked the 22 students from 2 random classes who were going to be involved to write down and draw the flags that represent their families' nationalities. Along with the American flag we all share, even in that small group, we actually had more diversity among us than I had imagined: a wide variety of European nations and Canada, Dominican Republic, China, Cape Verde, and Cherokee to name a few. The kids included these flags in their art works, and some groups went further, adding in symbols of religions and for the LGBT community. One group added a fighter jet to remind us of how our military, every day, defends freedom for everyone, and they truly meant everyone. 

When I looked at the art work, I remembered how these young people worked together without needing a lot of input from me to embrace diversity in our little town. They didn't need a lot of help understanding why our country's diversity is special and adds to the beauty our communities. I didn't have to explain to my students why respecting other humans who happen to be different from ourselves is an important and good message. They tend to know what's right, sometimes better than many adults. 

Maybe that's because they are young, and things seem much more simple. But I think there is more to it than that. I believe that first and foremost, their parents are raising these children to be good human beings. I am grateful to these parents for teaching their children to be accepting and kind, and I am grateful to teach in a community where I much see more of this than the alternative. Another reason is that in our public schools, we work really hard to address bullying and bigotry when we see it and make sure that all students feel that they belong. I may avoid talking to my students about my personal political views in my classroom, but I make it clear that everyone is welcome here, and though I don't want to censor their voices and views, I do let them know that hate speech or imagery of any kind is not welcome at all.
As others have said before me, we are not born with hate. People can be taught to hate and oppress others, or they can be taught to have empathy and compassion. We can show our children, or anyone else we encounter, that all humans have equal value through our words and actions, openly discourage bigotry and hate when we see or hear it, and try to be kinder, more understanding people ourselves. In this way, every person can and will make a difference. I'll try my best to do that, especially in light of recent events.

Many sincere thanks to my student artists who created these artworks and give me hope for the future.

If you want to see the "Strength in Diversity" exhibit, it runs now through Sept. 30 at the Visitor's Center on Williams Street and features many beautiful entries from schools across Massachusetts. 

You can also see more (and better) photos of the art work at https://fmsstudentartgallery.blogspot.com/2017/07/2017-dream-rocket-project.html

June 17, 2017

Summer's for Art Students!

Summer is the best time for kids to keep busy with art projects and classes! I started art lessons at about age 9. It was fun, I met other kids who loved art, and it kept me motivated to learn more and keep doing art for the rest of my life. 

Here are some learning opportunities in Southcoast, MA. There always seem to be more available for very young kids, but I have found some for tweens and teens, too. The cost of a class is usually pretty reasonable considering most are several hours long and include supplies. 

• The New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! host art classes year-round but their summer program, Cool Arts Kids!, is always a hit. These classes are taught by artists and are held in the museum. Mom or dad can drop off the kids and grab a coffee or shop downtown. It’s a great way to try out classes: if your young artists like the summer classes, you may want to sign up for some during the school year.

I’d recommend these classes for 14 and up:

These classes are for ages 10-13:

• Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School in Rochester's Summer Discovery program is for kids in grades 3-8 and has a STEAM focus, with sports, arts and crafts, and more... https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-old-colony-summer-discovery-for-students-entering-grades-5-8-tickets-32272804828?aff=efbneb

• Friends Academy in Dartmouth has a summer camp that covers ALL the arts, as well as sports, science, foreign languages, culinary classes, and more. There are many choices of time frames, and topics are a la carte. 

• The Lakeville Center has lots of cool themed classes, and 2 age groups to choose from.
http://www.thelakevillecenter.com/camp  (2 age groups: ages 5-8 & ages 8-12)

• The Children’s Lab in Mattapoisett caters to the younger set, but they do offer a drawing class for older kids this summer.

• If you have an advanced teen artist in your life, consider looking into classes at UMASS Dartmouth or BCC. A mature, experienced older student may be accepted with permission of the instructor and even get college credit for these classes. Have a portfolio of drawings or letter of recommendation from your child’s teacher ready.

• Finally, you can create art experiences right at home! For a small investment, a sketchbook and pencil or even other basic supplies kept handy are a great way to encourage a young artist  of any age to create at a moment’s notice or during a few minutes of cool down time on a hot day. These items can be easily brought along on a vacation to record the sights around you. Likewise, a digital camera or iPad can give kids some photo ops— ask them to really try to capture their experience and the interesting things they see vs. selfies. They could also create art later based on these photos— grown up artists do that all the time!

So, make some time for art this summer and enjoy your vacation!!