Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Art Club and Art Shows





So much has been happening, I haven't had much time to blog. Friends visited from Spain and we were having a great time with them, doing a lot of sightseeing. Around that, I had Art Club lessons and author interviews. But before the Art Shows get too "old and cold", so to speak, I do want to mention them.

First, a word about the South Natomas Community Center Children's Art Club; Alex Vargas is the Center's director, a great supporter of art, and he is responsible for my being there. (He was familiar with an after school art club I did for years at my old school.) I teach the "club" one afternoon a week from 3:00 to 4:30. The students are ages 8-to-12, and all of them love art. It isn't an amorphous situation where kids have a variety of activities to choose from; they have come specifically for art. The parents are wonderfully supportive. Two or three of them help out in class regularly. The class caps at 20. This year we've averaged 16 on a regular basis, but the summer session has already filled up.

We cover a range of art techniques, concepts, and various artists: Still Life, Portraits, Landscapes, Abstract Art; soft and oil pastels, acrylic paint, watercolors, colored pencils, charcoal, etc. Students become familiar with bamboo brush painting at Asian New Year, works by Diego Rivera and Tamayo at Cinco de Mayo, Harlem Renaissance painters during Black History Month, Mary Cassat and Georgia O'Keefe during Women's History month, etc. Students keep portfolios and then take their work home at the end of the year. And in spring we usually have an art show at Art Ellis Art Supplies, and students sell their work.

So..., the shows:
This year, we actually had two: Art Ellis Art Supplies gave us the April Show, displaying student work in the window all through the month -- a really lovely way to make sure it gets wide viewing, and they've offered us the space for many years.

Then in May, we were fortunate to have a second show with Green Sacramento, a shop that specializes in environmental building and design products. We also had a reception on May 8th, serving punch and cookies early in the afternoon before the incredible Second Saturday Art Walk crowds arrived.

In both shows, student work was matted and was for sale -- $5.00 a painting, with $3.00 going to the artist, and the remaining $2.00 a "consignment fee". (In both cases, though, the stores refused the fee and put it back into our art supplies fund--a real kindness much appreciated.)

What has pleased me is how much these young artists are truly artists. By that, I mean they have what Robert Henri called the art spirit. Originally I planned for classes to be an hour a week, but the children asked for it to be longer so that they could paint or draw for a longer period of time! Some of them will be coming back this summer and again in the fall. With that kind of dedication, you know they are going to keep developing.

And this forces me to keep developing too!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mitty,

A heart-felt "Thank You" for all the time and dedication you invest in making the Art Program a REAL success. I dare to say success because once children are the ones asking for more, you know you have something very, very special.

You have (single-handedly) created a space for children to be themselves and blossom as young, talented artists =)

Sincerely,
Alex