kids love art (education)

How can anyone who’s in a position of power even consider cutting art education out of a budget? How can anyone who’s involved in any aspect of elementary, middle school, or high school education feel good about designing a school day schedule that does not in some way include the visual arts? The idea is enervating, exasperating, and bewildering. Especially after spending a day like Thursday, working with the 35 third grade children, who visited the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.

It’s very simple: Kids LOVE to visit museums. They LOVE to look at art, think about art, and tell you what they see when they look at art. And they LOVE to make their own art. Which they will unfailingly do, when given the simplest materials, very few instructions, and a little bit of peace and quiet.

During their visit to CMCA, the students created three different projects, inspired by the work of three different artists. One project focused on the work of artist Mark Wethli, above, upper left.

Students were taken into our ArtLab, given a piece of white paper, a glue stick, and a selection of colored pieces of paper from which to choose.

And then they moved straight into that beautiful zone of clear, decisive concentration

where they explored the convergence of math (geometry, numbers) and science (balance, space) and art (color, form, illusion (of space))

to create their own unique compositions.

When I asked the students to talk about what they had created, they told me about how they made secret spaces by overlapping shapes,

or how they made a work that used the colors of the jungle, or one that’s like an overhead view of a house with rooms.

Here are just some of the works they made.

And then of course there were a few students who decided, in the process of working with the materials, to expand the parameters of the project.

As always. When given the time and the space, students will soar away. From the edges of the page. From the ideas we present to them. To their own world, even beyond three dimensions.