Monday, August 15, 2011

Art, Design & Children

Fear of Being Ridiculed

I'm not an expert in art or design. In fact, I used to feel that because I didn't have loads of experience in either area (other than children's products) I somehow didn't know how to appreciate them properly & certainly all those snobby artsy types would chastise me (total ridiculous stero-typing there, I know). Rubbish! Having children & starting Rain or Shine Kids has taught me that appreciation for art & design is as simple as acknowledging something you think is interesting in the world around you. The experiences are endless!

Opening Your Eyes

Now, I don't want my kids to feel intimidated by art or design like I was. Similar to most things in life, the more exposure you have to something the more you are comfortable with it. When I am with my girls & we see something I find cool, or weird, or clever, I mention it & ask what they think or see when looking at the same object. Sometimes this starts a conversation & sometimes they could care less. My hope is that by drawing attention to individual items in their surroundings they will see more in the world around them & will be comfortable expressing their opinions, hopefully appropriately expressing.

Interesting 'Things'

'Things' I draw attention to can be as small as a clever latch on a door, a print on a throw pillow, a huge sculpture, an unusual building, or even the Gum Wall. One of the most interesting topics these days has been on street art (check out the documentary 'Exit through the Gift Shop', I found it very interesting). Since art is any expression of human creativity or imagination, the options are WIDE open.

Seattle Gum Wall 2009 
Gum Wall, Post Alley in Pike's Place Market

Connecting Art & Education

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) - My friend Yoon is the National Program Director (& a fantastic mother of 2 boys) for this cool non-profit that brings together teaching children critical thinking skill & the visual arts. Yoon took a group of us to the Seattle Art Museum to demonstrate how VTS works using the opening questions, "what is going on in this picture?". How that one sentence can ignite a conversation & open your eyes to what others see is amazing. It really drives home that there is no right answer, art is subjective & we bring our own life experiences into everything we see.
ABOUT - Visual Thinking Strategies is an educational curriculum and teaching method which enables students to develop aesthetic and language literacy and critical thinking skills, while giving teachers a powerful new technique they can utilize throughout their career'.

Have fun finding the art around you, and please share with us some of the cool things you see. I love cool stuff:)

- Heather

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