On a youth basketball team, some kids are there because they love the game and can't get enough of it. Some are there because they are really good at it. Some are there because all their friends are on the team. Some are looking for a place to fit in. Some aren't sure why they're even playing but they are hoping something clicks.
When we sign our kids up for a season of basketball, we're looking for an EXPERIENCE. Yeah, we'd definitely like to see some growth...maybe in better dribbling skills, higher game IQ, better teamwork or just increased confidence. We judge the success of the season NOT on the end-of-the-season tournament, but rather by looking at how the entire experience positively impacts the development of our children.
Our weekly art classes are an experience that encourages the same kind of growth as that baseball season (or baseball season or soccer season). We're looking for increased skills--in drawing, painting, printing, sculpture, etc. We're working on a better understanding of abstract concepts like composition and balance. We improving on our vocabulary and our critique skills so we can support our classmates. We're creating together and making connections with fellow makers. We building self-confidence and resiliency.
Just like the basketball team, our kids are come to the studio for ALL different reasons. Some have a natural talent that they are looking to grow. Some have a LOVE for creating and are just looking for an outlet. Some love the freedom of the studio environment. Some have friends in class. Others are looking for friends.
Our jobs as parents and coaches
Our instructors' job is to help each one of our students get what THEY need out of class. For most our our students, that still involves making an amazing piece of art. But, we also understand that not everyone NEEDS to finish their final project. Some have zero interest in finishing their artwork because that's not what THEY are looking to get out of the class. They may never truly finish anything in our eyes, but if they are getting what THEY need out of their studio session each week, that's what matters.
So, parents--especially Orange Easel parents--please look at the season, not the score. Look at the practices, the teamwork, the connection, and the experience. Not just the finished artwork that they walk out with at the end of the month. Because for some of students, what they are working on isn't as tangible as something that can be painted on a canvas. And for ALL of our students, that's not the full story.
Anyone who knows me well, know that I'm as competitive as they come. I like to win. And I like pretty art. But--at this age, at this level and in the big picture--the "score" in so unimportant. What we learn along the way is what matters.
Content inspired by the artists and art created in our studio.
Orange Easel began as a small art studio in my basement and continues to grow and serve our community. Read more about our story here.