Every child is an artist. Parents always have their children's artwork hanging on the refrigerator, the walls, somewhere around the house. Yet somehow, as kids get older, art falls to the wayside.
I am not sure why. In part, I think a large chunk of our society focuses more on sports than art. Perhaps this is because we can sit in the bleachers and watch, and cheer our kids on. It could even be that we long for the accomplishments we wish we had made back in the day (think Al Bundy and his high school football attachment), so we live vicariously through our children.
Regardless, art is what makes life more beautiful. It's historic. Even adults who aren't into art will know and can identify the da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Van Gogh's Sunflowers, Michelangelo's David and the Sistine Chapel ceiling, Munch's The Scream. There is Picasso, Monet, Manet, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Dali, Kahlo, Rivera, I could go on. Architecture is another form of art. Statues, fountains, churches. People travel to places like Italy just to see all of the art and architecture that exists. They go to France to visit the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa up close. We love art. Why is it that when it comes to art at home, we forget?
Our schools budgets tend to cut the arts in general before they cut funding for anything else, like, I hate to say it again, sports.
And it's not just the schools. Tonight, our local news reported that the Jersey City Museum has closed. It's been around for over 100 years and had a vast art collection (over 20,000 pieces). The article "Jersey City Arts Treasure Closes" by Bob Hennelly says, "This latest setback for the Jersey arts scene comes as non-profit groups state wide are bracing for continued cut backs as Governor Christie and the legislature try and close a ten billion dollar budget gap." Clearly, we need to invest our own money in keeping art alive.
My son loves art. The girls love it, too. Together, they take art classes at a studio called Let's Create. I am thrilled about this. My son has been creating since he was old enough to sit upright. He sold his first piece of art at a group art show four years ago, when he was six. The show was in a bar, and was all adults, but my son's father and uncle were in it, so they submitted one of his pieces, too. It sold for $60 to someone who didn't know my son, nor did he know that the artist was only six (at least not until after he bought it). Since then, my son's been to lots of art openings, and we've even had a chalk art show here on my block, in the same spirit of the SCAD annual sidewalk arts festival.
I am organizing a children's group art show just before summer solstice, called "Dreaming of a Midsummer Night." It is open to all children ages 2 - 16, and the guidelines are minimal. The opening will be held the Saturday before Father's Day, complete with a lemonade and cookie opening reception. (Interested readers please contact me.) It is my hope that this show will be the first of many for our children, and that it will inspire our kids to continue to paint, draw, sketch, and sculpt.