Teachers with ideas and vision: Priceless.
Teachers at the Eighth Street Elementary here in Ocala implemented a week long Art Fair along with the usual Science Fair. Local musicians and artists were recruited to help make it a go and that included moi. I was assigned five consecutive sessions with first and second graders (anyone got a Valium?). Turned out to be a fantastic way to test drive the silly riddles and horse drawings to the actual target readers of my long overdue book.
After the first session I briefly chatted with a teacher about the financial cuts to art and music in public schools. You've read the research. This particular teacher stated how the arts effectively draw children out of their shells. I don't recall that aspect in the studies I've read. Sure enough, as session two gets comfortable on the floor I spot a withdraw, sullen and seemingly disinterested child sitting at group's edge. He wouldn't look in my direction at all. As I show off my goofy drawings and invite participation, this child slowly becomes involved and by the end of the session is actually enthusiastic! Right before my eyes...
All I can say is...wow. Think art and music aren't important in a cash strapped school system? I ask you to reconsider.
Here are some photos I promised of last weeks painting demo at Ocala Art Group. Thanks to artist Sally Smyth who is first Vice President and show coordinator for sending them to me.
“The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to.” - Marian Wright Edelman: