Art. Why does the very word conjure up scenes of mess and mayhem in my mind? Why do I feel anxiety in the pit of my stomach every time my children want to paint, glue or (gasp)glitter?!? Do not get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the arts, I want to encourage my children in the appreciation and creativity art produces, I think art should be a regular part of their lives. But it is very hard for me to swallow my “This is going to make a huge mess and take me hours to clean up” words and let my budding artists have at an art project. Several weeks ago, our small town hosted an Art Walk. Many different kinds of artisans and mediums were represented. We toured a local art gallery, watched painters and sculptures at work, participated in some hands on art ourselves, and overall had a wonderful time. The kids were so inspired that they spent two hours “crafting” after we got home. Through this experience I realized some things that were not clear to me before. Art provides an opportunity for a child to create something that they can take pride in. It allows them to express their own individuality, and because they are not inhibited by the same insecurities as adults, they are not afraid to try new things or learn new skills. They delight in the colors, textures and methods,andthey love sharing their creations with others.
We are now the proud owners (and users!) of acrylic paints and oven baked clay. I have ordered an art series for school this year. Although I still swallow hard when they get practically every art supply we own out on the kitchen counter, I have a much different motivation for encouraging their love of all thingsart. How do you respond when your children want to get creative? Does anyone have any good suggestions for this still hesitant art mama?