The school systems for children has been a life-long concern of mine. Many times, my work has been children-related, and I'll skip details of my history for now, but my concern regarding this topic has never been greater, since letting go of my personal plans to help raise my brother's 2 young children in Japan, which I've been doing now for nearly 6 years. As I dove into my new role during their crisis with their unstable parents and a rough custody battle, for awhile, it seemed as if I drifted further away from my desire to pursue an art teaching degree. But as I lived with my niece and nephew and spent hours making things together with our hands, I began to see that perhaps this was the ideal classroom, and I was the one who actually became their student.
When things finally began to settle at home last spring, my artist photographer cousin suddenly called me out of the blue, inviting me to do an exhibit with her. Since my nephew and niece were older, it finally seemed time to get out my own sketchbooks. My cousin also happened to be passionate about this topic and we both agreed that given how much time kids spend in schools, it still isn't a balanced system geared toward whole-brain learning or honoring a child's unique creativity & gifts. Our ideas quickly began to take form and we prepared for our show for September, titled, the "Child Paradox", with my cousin's photography and my illustrations, to help raise awareness regarding this topic. Around the same time, I happened to see a video(posted) of a man named Ken Robinson, who talked about similar concerns. This is just one of many people who have inspired us along the way. I also believe children are the future of our planet.
It was quite a challenge for us, given our hectic lives, but things unfolded in serendipitous ways. For example, the gallery owner accidentally double-booked our 2nd floor display room, and we ended up being allowed to use the high-ceiling 1st floor room with a huge glass window entrance facing the main street, that attracts more visitors, and, with no extra charge. Donations would show up, which helped us get the materials we needed. During our one week exhibit, some influential individuals, for example, a well-known master photographer in his 80's strolled in. It gave us a chance to inquire about the role of artists in society and start a dialogue. A teacher-assistant at my niece's elementary school came. Many young artists showed up, eager to see the display and surprised to discover what we were doing and why. One young artist even began a self-inquiry and felt compelled to re-do his own portfolio, finished it by the exhibit's final day to show us. Kids usually are not welcome in posh galleries, but we made a carpeted area where they could roll around and draw pictures right under the display. This exhibit was only a first step, and we have so much to learn, but we were also able to take a questionnaire survey to ask the kind visitors, many who were parents, about their thoughts on the educational system and what they would like to see change, to add to our ideas for our next projects.
This particular topic & video is about education, which happens to be one of my interests, but I'd love to hear what projects others have been doing, or ideas, concerns, stories, experiences that you can share about children that we can learn from.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply! There are so many interesting points here. Btw, my cousin was born exactly around those years:-)What a fascinating field astrology is! And she is great with new-tech stuff. I watch with my eyes blinking in amazement as she whizzes through the electric appliance functions with super speed:-)) Thank you for poignantly sharing about your own children....your words pulled at my heart...I admire you for being able to develop such programs for children! It's great to know that alternative choices are available for them. And no wonder schools feel the way they do! Wow...It feels daunting to want to affect change with such a big institution,but my cousin & I felt that if we are SO concerned, we are the ones to do something about it, in any way we can, even if we are stumbling, groping our way on our path. I really appreciate your deep wisdom & suggestions, I will definitely share this with my cousin, oh,I think she used to get skin rash too!And thank you for joining this group! love, light & cheers, mlp