I've had a great little art club for the past two years at my middle school. We meet once a week after school for 2 hours. At the beginning of the year, the kids brain-stormedwhat they wanted to do for the year. Then, they broke up into small groups, pairs, or sometimes by the themselves to teach the group "mini-workshops." We've had friendship bracelets, hemp jewelry (the latest cool trend which is really macrame), beaded ornaments, origami, japanimation, comic books, and murals. About every month or so, I'll give a lesson or we'll have free art. That is their favorite because it's like private lessons. But, if I did it all the time, they'd get bored and not know what to do.
I opened membership up to the whole school and charged $4 to join. Some people came once or twice and never paid (which is fine for me). It was almost a completely different club from the beginning of the year to the end of the year because students were involved with sports or lost interest. It never bothered me because there was always someone else to take their place. We always kept a group of 15-25 at the meetings and we probably had over 50 students in and out the entire year.
Advice for someone who is going to start an art club for the first time: Decide what the purpose of the art club is going to be and communicate that to the kids. Let them take ownership of the club and carry it out to the last detail- from field trips to collecting membership dues. Use them for preparing art shows, posters for school events, and cleaning up but give them incentives that they will look forward to doing.
Wish me luck that I'll have the same kind of success at the high school with this kind of art club. I'm really looking forward to it!
Michelle H. Harrell
Southeast Raleigh High School
Center for Accelerated Studies
Raleigh, North Carolina
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