Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The First Meeting of Art Club

Hi, welcome to Art Club. I want to tell you how I came up with the idea for Art Club. My daughter, Kate, is a member of the Hunterdon ARC. Kate loves to make art, but she likes to take her time. She would come home from a craft night at the ARC and say, "I could have done this better, but I ran out of time." That made me think about how these programs could be better.

Around this time I came across the web site for an organization called Creativity Explored. Here is a quote right from their website:

"Creativity Explored is a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art. We are committed to supporting people with developmental disabilities to become working artists, and to promoting their work as an emerging and increasingly important contribution to the professional art world. Creativity Explored provides workspace and materials in ongoing studio sessions facilitated by a team of professional artists who provide support and assistance to studio artists. Creativity Explored also operates a professional exhibitions program that promotes our studio artists’ work to a wide array of local, regional, national, and international exhibition venues including commercial galleries, and corporate and public spaces."

Here is a list of their beliefs:

All people are creative, given a supportive environment.
Creative expression fosters personal growth.
Self-worth, a sense of purpose, and community are essential for all people.
Visual art is language everyone can use.
Disability is not a boundary.
Art making is a viable career path.

You see that last one? "Art making is a viable career path?" I wish my parents and guidence counselor had believed that! But anyway, Creativity Explored reflects my vision for Art Club. I can't say right now how far this will go, I'm just leading the first set of 3 classes right now. Our first class was April 14th.
I gave everyone a large envelope to hold their works-in-progress. Then we talked about collage and different ways we could make them. We started by spreading out a number of magazines and letting everyone look through and clip the pictures that interested them. I was really excited about how into the project everyone was. By the time we talked about the project and looked for images, I think we really did need the 2 hours just for this part. Most of my students seemed to go with a theme. Two women have horse themes going. One woman likes witches. A man named Matt was completely taken with a map of Nova Scotia I had out there with all of the magazines. He cut out a bunch of flowers and a man and woman to go with the map. I'm looking forward to seeing that collage finished. Another man cut out pictures of flags, soldiers and diamond jewelry. Eric, known as "Eric Scissorhands," sat down and went right to work doing what he likes to do, cutting out letters and words. He made an art club sign for me! I asked him if he would like to try cutting out some pictures and he very politely declined. I said that was fine because this is Art Club, not Make-Your-Collage-My-Way Club! However, by the end of the night, he was cutting out beach scenes.

In future posts I would like to show completed art work, discuss ideas and ask for help and donations of equipment and supplies. Stay tuned!

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