SchoolArts Magazine

March 2017

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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58 MARCH 2017 SchoolArts to make another book the following year. Similarly, our daughter doesn't have to tidy up when she has a project in progress. Art is always better than "real" work. Every artist knows that. 9. Praise process over product A piece of art is the result of hours— sometimes even years—of obser- vation, experimentation, decision making, and discovery. The finished product might be nice, but the true value of art is in its creation. With that in mind, be careful not to praise a young artist's talent or even the quality of their work. Notice your child's determination, his or her will - ingness to experiment, their patience, perseverance, enthusiasm, and atten - tion to detail. It takes practice to change the way you speak, but there is a story behind every work of art. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18. she has in common with professional artists in the real world. Kids are less likely to give up if they have real art heroes with whom they can identify. 6. Make friends with other artists If you surround your child with other children who enjoy art, they will push each other to make more and better art. Make new friends at art classes or art museums. Invite old friends to that sketchbook safari that I men- tioned earlier. Host "crafternoons" where young artists come over to work on their projects together. 7. Let your child choose an art class Most parents think that classes are the best first way to support their children's interest in art. In my expe- rience, this is wrong for two reasons. First, it regiments their playtime. CONTINUED ON PAGE XX P arents ask me a similar ques- tion every year: "My child has a talent for art; how can I sup- port that?" My answer has been refined by fifteenish years of experi- ence. Parents, this article is for you. 1. Provide art supplies Often, students ask me for art sup- plies because they don't have access to them at home. If you can't afford the full shebang, remember that most dol- lar stores have an aisle for art supplies. Give your child a small budget and let them buy a new pen or tube of paint. My family calls these "art snacks," and my kids put them to use almost as soon as we get home. 2. Make your own art Simply put, model creativity for your children. They will be inspired if they see you creating, trying, failing, and learning also. If you are one of those parents who think that you have no artistic talent, then practice it for your children. You will surprise yourself. 3. Limit screen time Television and video games are art forms of their own. I have nothing against them, but they are a time-suck. So, set limits on your child's screen- time. To fill the void left by television, my children have made animations and designed video games of their own. 4. Make art a family activity Art does not have to be a rigorous exercise; it can be something fun that your family does together. Play Pic- tionary. Draw pictures of each other. Bring notepads to draw animals while at the zoo. Associating art with fam- ily fun will help your child to make it a hobby of their own. 5. Enter the art world Go to museums, art openings, craft fairs, and comic book conventions. Help your child see how much he or That's no fun. Second, it turns art into another academic subject for which they might feel judged. That said, classes are a fantas- tic way to expand skills and make friends. So, give your child options. Many art schools or museums offer classes devoted to specific subjects such as architecture, comic book pub- lication, or t-shirt design. Workshops such as these inspire growth without threatening a child's current skill set. 8. Make art an excuse This is a big one in my home. When I want to encourage my children's cre- ativity, I let them use it as a proverbial "get out of jail" card. When my son was creating his own coloring book, for example, I knew that he might run out of steam before it was completed. So, I told him that he could stay up beyond his bedtime as long as he was drawing. He drew every night and fin- ished his book in about a week. His accomplishment earned praise from his teachers, and that motivated him Eleven W e Young Artists Rama Hughes The finished product might be nice, but the true value of art is in its creation. M A N A G I N G T H E A R T R O O M 18 MARCH 2017 SchoolArts Ask questions about the artwork. Ask about the artist's thoughts or feelings. Ask about the challenges and what the artist learned. Your attention and will - ingness to listen demonstrate that the process itself is worthwhile. 10. Understand frustration Don't worry if your child gets frus- trated with his or her art. People don't get frustrated about things unless they care about them. You can help your little artist unpack his or her feelings with these four sentences: "I can tell that you are frustrated. Do you know what that means? That means that you really care about your art. I am so proud of you for caring this much." 11. Don't force it Imagine for a moment that your child's interest in art is a sprout. You can't force a sprout to grow, but you can provide a supportive environment. Nurturing your child's art requires the same attentive patience. Any of the tips on this list will get you and your child off to a good start. Rama Hughes is an art teacher at Yavneh Hebrew Academy in Los Angeles, Califor- nia and a contributing editor for SchoolArts . rama@ ramahughes.com W E B L I N K www.ramahughes.com

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