ArtId Art Blog
Children__™s Art-Walk__™s mission is to seed invaluable life skills in children from economically challenged backgrounds by using oil painting and a specialized relational curriculum as a means of imparting critical skills and values for success. The mission centers around the idea that through the process of creating an oil painting, in an encouraging yet challenging environment, a child will be able to have multiple ___success experiences___, essentially pushing through internal barriers to achieve that feeling of pride and satisfaction obtained through the successful development and completion of several pieces of art. Intrinsic to making art is the process of creative and intellectual development which occurs when the artist overcomes specific challenges and questions within an artwork. The challenges that the children face by fully engaging in the program often parallel the challenges they face every day outside the classroom, and will continue to face as they grow into adults. ___Anyone who has sat before an empty canvas, with three colors and a brush and has gone to work on it, understands the personal challenge we speak of___, says Bruce.
At Heritage Academy in Augusta, an inner city school founded and operated by Dr. Linda Tucciarone, Children__™s Art Walk has managed to make quite an impact. At the beginning of 2007, Bruce and his team (Deborah, Nan Shaefer, Sumner Klassen and Mark Shaefer) set up a two hour oil painting class once a week as an add-on to the regular curriculum. Mrs. Helen Morgan, Director of Development at Heritage Academy, supervised and supported the new program, the results of which have exceeded expectations after only two sessions. For example, it is not unusual for the volunteers to meet children who show the effects of leading ___tough___ lives. The experiences some have had outside the classroom have led to feelings of fear and lack of confidence. Heritage Academy is using Children__™s Art-Walk as part of its overall, ongoing effort to educate, and help these kids achieve new levels of confidence. Outside of the classroom, there have been other positive results. Several of the students have moved on to be accepted into a private art school in Augusta and others have even sold some of their beautiful creations.
Bruce attributes the relationship-based curriculum at Heritage Academy with preparing a fertile ground for Children__™s Art-Walk__™s own success. ___Our approach dovetails perfectly with what Heritage Academy is doing for its students. Our service is a value add-on to their ongoing fabulous program.___ Seeing as most children have had no experience with oil painting, it creates a level playing field for the classes, which are made up of children of varying ages. Oil also presents particularly interesting challenges for the artist once the work is in progress. The ___Teachers curriculum___ trains instructors to help the children overcome the challenges in their painting by approaching those challenges as intellectual building blocks toward success. Instructors and kids learn Bruce__™s mantra very quickly says Mark Shaefer (Executive Director of Children__™s Art-Walk)______if you are not making ___mistakes__™ you__™re not learning, and there should be no fear of making ___mistakes__™___in this class and in most of life, mistakes can be corrected___but fear and lack of confidence are debilitating___. When a child makes a mistake, for example, they are guided to recognize it as an opportunity to find the right answer instead of feeling as if they have failed. Teachers are asked not to ___fix___ a student__™s mistake by telling them what color to use or what shapes to form, but to enter into a dialogue with them and maybe another student to come to a collaborative solution. Also important is the overall atmosphere of the classroom. The instructor needs to set up a space and tone for the class that feels safe and empowering, so that sharing work with peers is easy and educational. ___It is quite rewarding to see the older and younger children working together to help each other out, learning together___.
!IMAGE153!Bruce__™s approach to donors is based on ___simple___ economics: ___you can pay a little now, or you can pay a lot later___ referring to the small amount of $100 per child for the program materials, versus the high cost to society later from potential underachievers. In addition, all of the revenues from Bruce__™s own paintings go directly into the funding of materials, and no other costs are charged. 100% of funds go directly to the kids.
Children__™s Art-Walk is currently seeking artists who might be interested in volunteering two hours of their time per week for 10 week stretches to teach Children__™s Art-Walk classes in their own communities, in conjunction with appropriate children__™s educational or care giving organizations. You will have a ___blast___! Bruce and team have set it up in a way that even if the artist does not have a location or funding sources, Children__™s Art-Walk itself will research the area, locate a suitable organization (school, Boys & Girls Club etc.), fund the money needed for supplies, and provide training for the volunteer team. Bruce says that he would love to see many ___local, self funding chapters___ of Children__™s Art-Walk spring up throughout the US, and community organizations and schools should be eager to participate and partner in this endeavor. And, if funding is not available through other sources, Children__™s Art Walk will pay for the supplies itself if the situation qualifies. Classes of 6-8 students work best with children between the ages of 9 and 14. Children__™s Art-Walk Executive Director, Mark Shaefer or an experienced volunteer will personally guide and support your program if you would like to give of your talents in this wonderful way. Likewise, if an organization wants a Children__™s Art-Walk class but does not have an artist to teach it, Bruce and Mark will find one for you.
By addressing fellow Mindsisland.com members, Bruce hopes to build an inclusive roster of talented artists whom he can reach out to and ensure that further development of Children__™s Art Walk remains a possibility as it matures. It is a requirement that instructors have a comprehensive knowledge of painting " the use of color, structure, and space. Each student receives their own Children™s Art-Walk supply kit, which includes three colors of water soluble oil paints plus black and white, a wooden desktop easel with drawer, palette paper, brushes, liquin, a palette knife and canvas boards. Children__™s Art-Walk has ___outsourced___ the supply of materials to a reputable and reliable on-line supplier, which returns a rebate to the organization, which, again goes directly to the kids programs. These materials are delivered to any class location in the US or the entire world. For more detailed information about Children__™s Art Walk, the curriculum and how you can help, please visit, ___www.childrens-art-walk.com___:http://www.childrens-art-walk.com. and contact Mark, Deborah or Bruce.
!IMAGE150!Though still in its early stages, Bruce expects Children__™s Art-Walk to grow rather quickly. At Heritage Academy, the service will grow by a factor of 6 by August 2007, Bruce, Deborah and Bruce__™s Bible study group are also able to fund the building of a new art annex for the school. If Heritage Academy is any indicator, Bruce is sure that communities across the country will soon have their own ___success experiences___ with Children__™s Art-Walk. ___Anywhere that children are being educated or taken care of, and art has become neglected for whatever reason, Children__™s Art-Walk can be ___bolted on___ at no cost, adding tremendous value, if we get volunteers.___
We encourage our member artists and anyone reading this article to consider volunteering for such an important and rewarding effort.
Children__™s Art Walk has a studio. on Minds Island where the children have posted some of their artwork for sale. All money made from sales will go back into the program, so please take a look. Here is what people have said about Children__™s Art Walk:
Dr. Linda Tucciarone __" Founder/Executive Director __" The Heritage Academy, Augusta Ga -It was a thrill to see that the children actually produced work that had value to them and others. I did not expect the richness of relationships that I observed. I have seen a marked change in the behavior of the children that are taking this program. They seem more confident and optimistic.
Miss. Julia Burgess __" Student 5th Grade_· We are learning to paint while finding our strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes. _· It is satisfying to push through the weakness with encouragement. _· Teaching level is good mixture of skill and relationship...beyond just painting. _· We were able to experiment and try new things without fear. _· It has opened our eyes to Art and the structure of how to paint. We can now see a piece of Art differently
Deborah __" Volunteer _· I recently had an opportunity to volunteer with an organization appropriately named ___Children__™s Art-Walk___. I was able to witness the progression as well as the excitement of children ___walking___ through the steps of creating their individual artwork. I saw through the experience the children__™s confidence grow as they filled their canvases. I must say I come away with a new found appreciation of success through art
Alexis - Parent _· I am elated over the opportunity you have given [my daughter]. Seeing [her] express herself in art makes me proud. Bruce, I am glad that you chose Heritage [Academy] to share your love for art. _· You are a blessing from heaven. There are so many young children who never get the chance to experience what you have offered the children of Heritage Academy. _· I am glad that you have a chance to share and help mold [my daughter__™s] creativity. Bruce, you have made an everlasting impression on my daughter__™s heart and future. Hillary Clinton said, ___It takes a village to raise a child.___ !IMAGE154!