Art has offered me so many benefits for my emotional and mental well-being. It is a means of expression and source of joy that has changed the way I look at my day to day life. I want to bring this to others and show them you don’t have to be a professional artist to have art impact your life in a big way.
So often I have kids tell me, “I’m not good at art,” and they dismiss art as a whole and everything good that comes along with it. I ask them if they think Tiger Woods would be a great boxer. Does that mean he isn’t good at sports? Or, if Beethoven would be a cool rap artist. Does that mean he isn’t a good musician? I give students an opportunity to try many artistic techniques in a non-judgmental environment with a spirit of experimentation. They often learn that, not only do they like art they are actually quite good at it.
Summer Dreamers Academy has been the focus of my summer for the last four years. I created a 27-day curriculum for middle school aged students that included a variety of art mediums and techniques which connect with 21st century skills. Creative writing, problem solving, sequencing, and public speaking are only a few of the skills we strengthen. Vocabulary lists, artist statements, and “how-to” books help enhance students ELA.
I have conducted residencies for kindergarten through eighth grade, ranging from small groups in after school programs to projects involving over 250 students. Input from teachers and faculty, plus ongoing communication, is a great source of inspiration for my residencies. My goal is to provide the students with an experience that will stay with them for years to come and, also, leave the teacher with some creative tools that tie in to Common Core and STEAM.