Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Graduation and Summer Teaching

It has been a very long time since I updated blog-land. I am happy to announce that I now hold a Master of Fine Art degree. I graduated in the Ohio State horseshoe on June 13, 2011. It was hotter than it seemed and longer than I wanted it to be. But, I am glad I participated. I think ceremonies are culturally critical; weddings, funerals and graduations signify that important things have happened. My husband, son, parents, father-in-law, aunt and two closest friends sweated it out with me and we celebrated after at our favorite local Chinese restaurant, Ding Ho.

Summer Teaching
The day after I graduated, I started teaching art at Columbus Montessori Education Center in their elementary summer camp program. We had all-day field trips every Thursday to Columbus Metro Parks and to the Audubon Center, really amazing programs! I taught ten nature-themed lessons in seven weeks. Kids painted with bugs,
mixed neutrals from primary colors to paint interactive owls with moving heads and wings,

and created mammal sock puppets!
I was also lucky to teach at the Wexner Center for the Arts again this summer. 3rd -5th graders joined the expedition as Junior Cartographers. They made maps of their room, home or neighborhood, mapped the oval as teams and developed imaginary maps on tea and coffee stained papers. We visited the Map Room at Ohio State’s Thompson Library. They learned more about maps and mixed media and we all had a lot of fun. My amazing ten year old son, Ely was with me almost every day this summer. He was my student, companion and creative collaborator. We ended summer camp season at Columbus School for Girls in their August in Action program. Due to construction complications, the camp met at the Kirk Campus, in a beautiful Tudor mansion on expansive grounds. It had the feel of a true camp rather than a school and we all enjoyed being close to nature - except for the shortage of toilets and plethora of biting insects. My 3rd-5th grade students made lots of art. My favorite projects were the paintings of dragonflies and their da Vinci diaries made of stained papers featuring interactive components, drawings, research and imaginings. Japanese side binding with that age groups was rather challenging. I kept telling them (and myself) that is was hard, but worth it. This was confirmed when one child hugged her book upon completion!

We went on many field trips this summer, and one of the most profound for me was visiting the Open Door Studio. I reconnected with an acquaintance from long ago and was inspired along side the children by meeting so many artists who are differently abled. It proves to me all over again that art comes from within and people of all ages, all abilities, all cultures just need the opportunity to be expressive.