“Kids Meet Art”™, the ultimate win-win program, began in 1995. Utilizing a format of corporate and individual funding, professional artists and community volunteers, the Council is able to expose the young to the joy of the arts and have a direct impact on the lives of students.
The Northwest Cultural Council and TARGET sponsored a “Kids Meet Art”™ Gray Sanborn & Virginia Lake Schools in Palatine in Spring 2015. CLICK HERE for more.
“Kids Meet Art”™ is an innovative, three day arts education program, that brings professional artists into elementary, junior and high schools, to introduce students to the various art forms. It offers hands-on, one-on-one training in art, music, theater, poetry, dance, and a special unit on the Japanese culture. The Northwest Cultural Council’s program “Kids Meet Art”™ offers an art enrichment program to students.
Artists visit students at their schools to:
- demonstrate their talents
- introduce students to new techniques and skills
- increase students’ capabilities and techniques with which they are already familiar
- allow students to meet, speak and interact with professional artists
- increase students’ awareness and knowledge of a variety of art forms
- introduce art into the other curriculums such as the language arts, social studies and science
- introduce or reinforce knowledge about the Japanese culture
NWCC’s program introduces and encourages students to become aware of art forms that they may not have known or been very familiar with before our artist’s presentations. Sometimes a student can immediately participate in a hands-on art demonstration or put a newly learned skill such as writing poetry, into use. Just seeing and hearing a musical instrument played can pique a student’s interest enough for him to start music lessons.
WHY NWCC PROMOTES “KIDS MEET ART”™
“Kids Meet Art”™ can have a positive long-term influence on many children. The current terminology used to describe children who fail is “lack of self-esteem”. Lack of self-esteem results in poor grades, gang activity and anti-social behavior. Adults as well as children gain self-esteem through increased knowledge, confidence in themselves and their decisions, self satisfaction with a job well done and applause from others for their accomplishments.
Students can gain self-esteem by successfully engaging in art related activities. A student engaged in any artistic endeavor is always competing against himself, using his cognitive skills to improve his performance and develop personal initiative. While creating a new project, searching for the exact word to express an idea, placing his finger on just the right spot on his violin to make the perfect sound, the student as artist is tapping his own resources to complete his projects. He is depending on himself to perfect his talent and learn perseverance. In accomplishing these artistic feats he is internalizing discipline, and growing into an independent, thoughtful individual; not a young person dependent on group association for approval.
Documentation demonstrates how training in the arts enhances learning and helps students learn more easily and quickly. It gives them the tools to solve problems, including those unrelated to the arts, in a creative way. Students may develop an interest in an art form that remains with them for their entire lives, offering them a constructive source of personal pleasure, comfort and solace.
In the past when the State of Illinois mandated that students in grades K-12 would be tested on various principles in the arts, the Council took steps to include some of those principles in the presentations of their artists, without losing the spontaneity and joy of the program. We have kept and added more basic principles to our presentations. The Council’s program can help to mitigate the reduction in art programming in the schools and keep this vital subject flourishing. The talents of the growing numbers of artists affiliated with NWCC’s programs are utilized in a new and creative partnership.
In the last twenty years NWCC has visited 90 different schools, some as many as 42 times.
HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS
The presentations are conducted by experienced professional artists, many who are or have been teachers. When necessary, an additional NWCC artist is present to assist the students with the projects. NWCC offers a menu of programs, including supplies, from which a school may choose as many programs as are needed to include all students in the school. Following are examples of some programs:
- How to put perspective into a picture, including a hands-on experience. (Recognizing and understanding perspective is a fundamental artistic principle.)
- Hear a musician demonstrate his instrument and speak about how he became interested in music and how it has affected his life. (Teach students to recognize the difference between music and noise.)
- See a performance by a mime, who SPEAKS to students then tells them what he studied in college to develop his profession, and how he makes a living as a professional actor.
- Visits to the NWCC Gallery for writing workshops, to write poetry about the art work on display and to study with a local published poet.
- A butterfly art project using all recycled materials. A science unit explaining the life cycle of butterflies was written and made available to science teachers, thus integrating this art project into the science curriculum.
- Learning to write Haiku introduces Japanese culture. Peaceful koto music provides a calm background as students write their own Haiku poem.
Sponsors may visit the sessions. The children write letters of appreciation and share their creative works with their sponsor. The students’ work can be displayed at the sponsors’ site. NWCC will send press releases to local newspapers explaining the program and gaining some positive publicity for the schools, the students and the sponsors.
Articles and photos focusing on the program will appear in the school newsletter mailed to students’ parents.
Through NWCC you can participate in our program “Kids Meet Art”™ and influence young people. It is your opportunity to “weave the arts into the fabric of the community” and provide students with tools for creative expression and problem solving. Corporations, Foundations, PTO’s, and individuals are invited to adopt a school, call 847/382-6922 for further information.
PERSPECTIVE DRAWING IN THE “KIDS MEET ART”™ PROGRAM
Perspective drawing is a method of creating the illusion of depth by arranging lines on a flat piece of paper. Using this technique one can create a flat image that appears three dimensional. While the Renaissance popularized perspective, creating the illusion of depth was well known to artists and architects in ancient Greece and Rome.
For “Kids Meet Art” perspective drawing is taught to students between 4th and 8th grades. Students are asked to visualize what a road or a set of train tracks looks like as it gets farther away. Most can answer correctly that the edges appear to come together and form a triangle which disappears at the horizon. We know, however, that the sides of the road don’t really come together or cars would drive off the road. Kids use this to relate to the abstract concept of perspective and have fun imagining what would happen if the road really shrank. Types of lines necessary to create the illusion of distance, horizon, converging, diverging, and parallel are discussed. Together drawings are made. Discussions take place about how basic shapes are the foundation of many objects. Boxes are drawn which are transformed into street scenes by adding details and more objects.
Visualizing perspective helps students understand spatial relations and mathematical relationships between objects. This knowledge carries over into geometry, and eventually into such fields as engineering and design. Teaching perspective is like teaching reading – when a student grasps the concept, a light bulb suddenly goes on, and wants to draw everything in perspective.
INTRODUCTION TO JAPANESE ART
Deborah Rosen, poet
Students enter and leave the classroom to the sound of Taiko drums, providing an additional dimension of Japanese culture. During the lesson itself, the soft, calm sound of Kyoto music plays in the background.
The ancient art of Haiku poetry is taught. Haiku is the shortest form of all poetry. It captures a moment in the writer’s life. Originally Haiku poems focused on the beauty of nature. As people from different cultures became familiar with and enjoyed the ability to share the essence of a thought or idea with limited words, the subject matter of Haikus expanded.
A Haiku is three lines long with the first and third line composed of five syllables, while the second has seven syllables. Students are encouraged to seek more information about a culture with which they are not familiar. It is our hope that this new knowledge will engender respect and appreciation for a culture other than their own.