Saturday, May 28, 2011

Visual Art Students at Synergy!

I had my very first chance today to interact with the kids at Synergy - in the motivational sense!  The visual arts students were making their end-of-term presentations today and are supposed to bring in a piece of art to talk about.  I must stress that they're supposed to be bringing in their art, but you and I were kids once, too, so we can see where this is going.  Sonia was running a bit behind with a busy night ahead of her (she has an event to attend to promote the Academy in downtown Toronto) and had asked me to get the Grand Ballroom - our dance studio - prepared for the presentations.  Easel set, mic and speaker set, chairs all lined up, and kids start trickling in.  Some with artwork, some without - as expected, but no panic.  We set up the art table, drawing paper and pencil crayons and I had them draw for me their favourite place.  "It could be a real place, or it could be imaginary.  It could be in outer space or your own backyard.  Draw your favourite place, and we'll talk about it with the rest of the kids."  The kids that brought in their artwork sat down and wrote about what they would say, occasionally conferring with each other about their own speeches.  They were so well behaved and so polite, and so excited, too! 

We managed to squeeze in two runs each student for them to practice their presentations, which started to turn into an "question and answer" period.  Sonia and I had started to ask questions about their artwork to draw some of them out of their shell, and the rest of the kids started to ask really intelligent questions about each others artwork.  I could feel a great sense of support in each other with these kids, and I was happy to encourage their curiosity and questions.  Sonia and I thought it was a great idea to include the interaction, but stuck to just me asking the questions to the presenter.  These kids had great questions for each other, and I used some of them during the actual presentation, giving credit to the student who originally asked it.  They did so well and their parents must have been so proud!  Sonia presented each student with a badge for their work with something they should always remember: Art Matters!

The great thing about kids talking about art is that there are no "wrong answers".  These kids' imaginations are quite spectacular, and their artwork is quite impressive.  It was a joy to hear them talk about how they express themselves through art, why they chose certain colours, symbols and mediums and their favourite techniques.  These kids could teach me a thing or two about painting!  I had also told them that their skills are an important part of the theatre world, helping to create the universe in which the actors live, and welcomed them to the theatre arts camp I'll be teaching in the summer if they'd like.  I do hope I get a chance to work with some of these little creative bundles of joy, it would be absolutely fun!

Congrats to these future Picassoes, and we are looking forward to another year of Synergy Renaissance!

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