Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Different Kind of Art Class

Today was my son's last art class for this academic year at the art studio where he has been going for the past few years.  Art is my son's favorite activity right now, so it is probably the one class he would be glad to continue year round.  However, it is nice to have a few months without weekly obligations, and there are lots of ways that he can continue to do his art.

I do want to give some public acknowledgement to his art teacher, however, because of the different approach she takes to art.  Her name is Jenny Eggleston, and her art studio is called "Egg in Nest."  She is both a wonderful artist herself and a gifted teacher--and what more can we ask for when looking for teachers for our children?

But here is why she is a PERFECT teacher for a student like my son.  Jenny's classes are different than most classes in that she doesn't "teach" the class a certain technique or project or whatever.  Rather, Jenny's classes are multi-age, multi-media, and multi-project.  That is, she accepts students from elementary through high school--all in the same class--and allows each student to work on his or her own passions, interests, or priorities.  She is prepared to supply all sorts of media--colored pencils, pastels, charcoal, watercolors, oil paints, collage, digital art, etc.--and all sorts of inspiration, in terms of historic and contemporary themes or artists.  While each student works on her or his own project, she circulates around and gives individual assistance or guidance on art techniques, media usage, or composition.  She sometimes initiates a group project, and holds a public art exhibit, based around a common theme, each semester.   For the past two years, at least, the spring theme has been combining poetry and art, which I wrote about in an earlier post.  However, other themes are centered around raising money for a fellow student who needed an organ transplant, and creating art to comfort, connect with, and encourage our troops overseas.

So while this approach may not appeal to all students and/or parents, if your child wants someone who acts more like an art coach than a traditional teacher, I don't know anyone better than Jenny Eggleston.   She has been a real gift to my son.  And she is an inspiration to me as a teacher as an example that everyone doesn't have to be following the same path for great education to be taking place.

IF you are lucky enough to live in the Raleigh/Cary/Apex area and would like to check out her teaching style this summer, she is offering some week-long art camps for different age groups that you can read about from her website.  For example, my son is signed up for a middle school/high school camp where they will work with a professional poet to produce a book combining art and poetry.   We are both really excited to see what he will produce out of that week of classes!

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