Sunday, February 14, 2010

Back to School

Talking art

Photo, speaking to a class about being an artist

An art teacher that I know in the LIC neighborhood, invited me to speak to a class of elementary school kids about what it is like to be an artist. So last Friday I headed over to meet with the class. On the way, I found myself remembering my 2nd grade art teacher, Miss Calabro. With her red hair and green stockings she made quite an impression and I remember art class being my favorite time of the day.

Being back in a classroom with little desks and chairs and art supplies brought me back to my own childhood. The kids looked at a bunch of postcards of my paintings that were displayed on the board and they had lots of questions for me. I was impressed, not only with the questions but with their observations on the paintings. This painting, "LIC/Yellow Factory Revisited" elicited a lot of attention as many of the kids recognized the building. They were a lively bunch and afterwards I stayed to watch them working on their sculpture project.

"LIC/Yellow Factory Revisited"
Oil on canvas
10 x 8 inches

I did a stint as a student art teacher while in college as I got a dual degree in Fine Art and in Art Education. When I graduated, New York was in the depths of a recession and no teaching jobs were to be found. Instead of teaching art, I took a typing class and found a job in an office, painting in the evenings. I spent years pounding a keyboard in order to pay the rent, eventually finding a job working nights so that I could paint during the day. It paid off. One of the questions asked was "Is it hard being an artist?" The answer I gave was "yes it is, but it is worth the effort."

Erica, the teacher, sent me the following email: "Thank you again for coming. the children had a blast! I've never seen them so excited and well behaved. They could not wait to get to the post cards you brought. I feel they got a lot out of it and it was fun."

I had a blast too. Who knows, one of the kids in that class might be a budding artist and years from now will recall the day I came to talk about what it is like to be an artist.

1 comment:

Elinore said...

A very warm and gentle post, expanding the artist's studio into the community.