photos by: Gene Pittman
This summer I facilitated 3 art-making workshops with children through Free Arts Minnesota. This is a wonderful nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the healing powers of artistic expression into the lives of at-risk children and their families. www.freeartsminnesota.org. Free Arts Minnesota partnered with the Walker Art Center at an opportune time to visit the Picasso and American Art exhibition.
Picasso’s drawings, paintings, and sculptures attracted many American artists and were excellent models for our workshops. My goal was to highlight each young artist’s unique perceptions of self and observations of the world around him or her.
The young artists started with a kaleidoscope pointed at a still-life. They named basic shapes and rolled their Cubistic inspired observations into still-life collages.
The second theme was simplified portraiture. We referred to Picasso’s unconventional portraits and the way he reoriented facial features. The young artists painted a face in acrylics and added cut-out features from magazines.
The third project was an assemblage sculpture. Remembering the freedom experienced by changing a face around, students sampled found materials to build an animal or abstract sculpture.
Over the three sessions, every participant deepened his or her creative process, taking more chances along the way.
Interspersed with the art-making lessons was a field trip to the Walker Art Center, where several kids from the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s Bush Children’s Center received a tour of the Picasso and American Art exhibition given by Susan Rotilie, the Walker’s Program Manager of School Tours. During the tour, kids carefully looked at several Cubist paintings and sculptures and identified subjects in the abstract works. Taking inspiration from the artworks, the students developed great ideas for stories, wrote them down, and then read them aloud in the gallery.
I’d like to thank the staff of Free Arts Minnesota and the Bush Children’s Center, and all the wonderful volunteers who helped out with the Artist Like Me workshops.
The culminating exhibit, Artist Like Me, included work by students at the Bush Children’s Center and Delta Place. It took placein the Walker Art Center’s Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab on September 7, 2007.
Ilene Krug Mojsilov, teaching artist and Art Lab Coordinator at the Walker Art Center.