How do you instill drive in a child? How do you create a path of self confidence and self awareness? How do you learn to love what you do? How do you learn the value of diversity? These questions can be answered through our teaching philosophies at Studio4Art (Studio 4 Art). Ultimately, our studio isn't about creating artists, its about creating leaders. I hope to use my own history and education to empower young people, gaining tools and learning styles that will allow them to accomplish their goals throughout life.
- I have been a mom since 1990
- I have been teaching since 1995
- I have been an entrepreneur since 1992
- I have studied oil painting
- I have studied ceramics
- I have studied design
- I have studied photography
- I have studied child psychology
- I have studied learning behaviors
- I have researched many school models
- I am an artist
- I am a teacher
- I am a children’s clothing designer
- I am an observer
- I am a lifelong learner
This list compiles my history and therefore the history and development of Studio4Art. I have been on a mission of understanding how to teach children art, tap into children's creative needs and exploratory desires, since becoming a mom in 1990. What I have concluded within this research over the last decade, through conversations with art educators, attending art conferences, following many social media platforms in art education, and with parents...we need to find a way to teach children how to become leaders in their own learning. Through both processed based art (the act of doing) and with product art (the results of our action). Many teaching styles usually follow one or the other, leaving a gap of learning untouched which is where my history has become invaluable with our teaching style here at the studio.
I began teaching art, first through after school enrichment, because I wanted to give more than what I witnessed children were getting in the educational system in my area, private or public. I saw such potential that was not being taught, mostly because our teachers were caught up in curriculum standards or school expectations. My path allowed me to use the knowledge of being a mother, my degree in fine art painting, child psychology, and being an entrepreneur to reach children through art education that wasn't set to a curriculum. Studio4Art was born as a place where children were the leaders in what they wanted to study to draw, paint, sculpt or sew, trouble shooting along the way through trial and error, brainstorming, and questioning.
Art is about giving a person a voice, a place of discovery, and personal power. That is often taken away when a child is given a step-by-step process in art making. It is taking away the belief that one has the capacity to dig down deep and discover, self-discovery, without being fed every step of the way to ensure they create a work of art that is recognizable. This type of art making feels “safe” because the end can be measured by “does it look like the example”. What I see when children come into our studio that only know this experience, they need to be fed what to do and are lost at what they personally like and feel comfortable creating. They do not understand the personal capacity of achievement, only the achievement of valuing themselves against a model. Fortunately, with a little guidance and support, we are able to give that child a space to "play" until they feel confident in their efforts.
I love the open-ended ideas of process art. The playfulness that it can bring. I think that it can push an artist through uncomfortable feelings, the unknown, into a comfortable space of knowing and creative imagination. Even if in the end you don't like what you have done, you learn by doing. What I disagree with in this model, like everything in life, there are tools that can enhance the exploratory path. Not to change, alter, or take away their idea, but to give children even more to work with, a louder voice, a more educated place of art making.
So, how do we take both of these models to create a new learning style? To begin, every step becomes a place for scaffolding on the previous thought or the previous technique. Watch how children are using their tools, is there a more effective way that you could give "hints and tips"? When learning technique, instead of telling children how to execute, give them several ways of executing and let them take the lead as to which feels best to them. As an educator it is my job to assist, to ask questions that engage and push an original thought to the next level, never telling what I think should or even could be done, but to ask questions that allow the learner to become the educator. Through this question based learning style, I am often in awe of what a student will create, as I never really know where their creativity will take them. I trust them. I trust that they will gain the freedom, excitement, and desire to continue learning. Instilling values in a person that enjoys new, enjoys discovery, enjoys "rethinking" and becomes a lifelong learner. Celebrating the diversity of being different, and learning that being like everyone else not only doesn't exist, but also would make the world a boring place to be. The judgement is left at the door, we don't have space to judge others when we are focused on our own learning and find the capacity to celebrate everyone's efforts in their own unique art making.
I knew I had a view that would enhance a child's learning experience, a space that had not been tapped into, a place of honor, a place of education, a place of discovery, and especially place to feel pride. I believe that we all have the power to appreciate change and challenge, however uncomfortable it may feel sometimes. I believe that we all owe it to ourselves to open up to our potential, but often are not given that opportunity of discovery. Studio 4 Art gives children this opportunity. We need creative exploration and we need to allow our children (and ourselves) to play in art. This can be taught through our art classes and even our drop-ins. We would live in a more productive, emotionally intact, and conscientious world if we had the ability to accept the process of creating, working through the struggle of creating, and problem solving.