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RE: technique vs. expression


From: Kimberly Herbert (kimberly_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Mar 15 2001 - 12:50:20 PST

Some parents come into the museum expecting us to teach a class (on their
timetable), and are thrown but the fact we have 6 tables were they are
suppose to sit down and create NEXT to their child. Our main objective is to
get the kids and adults to open up to the idea that they can create and it
does not have to be a masterpiece to be art. With our age group 3 years Ė 12
years mainly, technique is a way to expression. If I see a child struggling
I sit down next to them and ask them what they are trying to do. I use their
response to guide how I answer. For example someone wants a thin line on the
paint table. Ask them to look closely at the brush to find the solution
(they usually see want I mean right away). Other times it might be that they
want to fill in the sky and ground (step up from strip of blue strip of
green) And I will give them several suggestions (using the side of a
crayon/oil pastel/pastel, filling in with a marker, doing a resist or
collage for example) I know they need more instruction as they grow older,
but I hope Iíve planted the seeds that techniques are to help expression not
stifle it.

Some times conversations like this make us look at our broad objectives in
teaching. At the museum ours are the following (all about equal)

Proper museum manners (no you may not take the artwork off the wall I donít
care how much you (or your parents) donated to the museum)

The difference between being inspired by and copying

That you must decide for yourself what you like and what you donít like Ė
having good reasons for you opinions. (I ask kids if they must like
everything hanging in the museum the answer is often variations on yes you
know more)

That everyone can enjoy creating even if they do not choose to become
professional artists

To look carefully before you decide what you see.

You can change your mind about things as you choose to learn more with an
open mind

Art (visual, music, dance, theatre, performance) is part of our lives and
part of our history you can not understand political history with out
understanding the culture around it you can not understand culture without
understanding the political history.

Kimberly Herbert ( <> )
CAM Administrator
San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts/Children's Art Museum