The Joy of Teaching Art
In this week’s blog, we hear from Engage San Francisco Literacy Tutor, Chloe Bryan, who has brought her own special artistic touch to the children she works with at the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center – through painting! Read more as she brings her lived experience and love of art to the classroom.
Last month, I had the opportunity to teach the kindergarten-fifth graders at the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center how to paint an abstract still life piece based off of a popular Van Gough painting. I highlighted the differences between realism and abstract and how important it is for us to feel free from the constraints of realist paintings. I also explained that colors can connote various moods and feelings– for we chose to focus on warm colors like pinks, reds, and purples to represent love and all the other emotions expressed during this holiday.
For me, art has always been a way to express myself. Growing up, my grandma always watched me while my parents were at work. So since I could remember, I was knitting, painting, sculpting, or making jewelry. Whenever I got tired of sitting around she used to tell me, “Chloe, there is no such thing as being bored, only boring people. Are you a boring person?” That would always be the source of my inspiration. It encouraged me to sit down and just paint whatever is on my mind.
So, when I heard that the kids don’t have an arts program and that someone who was supposed to teach this class dropped out, I offered myself immediately. I can’t imagine art not being in my life, and I was so excited to introduce the kids to my world. So I feverishly went to work on my lesson plan. I wanted to find something that would be easy enough for the little ones, but not too easy for the older ones. This led me to teaching them abstract still life. As most know, flowers are a symbol of love; therefore, I thought it was appropriate for the occasion.
I believe I made the right choice– for the kids seemed to enjoy the experience. Some kids I thought might have not participated willingly, were the main ones to ask questions and for help.
Hopefully, I will be asked to teach again and this activity will become a usual occurrence for these kids. It is so important to allow children the freedom to express themselves and possibly find an outlet in art — just like I did.
Learn more about Engage San Francisco’s academic partnerships HERE!