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RE: Christa- bad experience with Artist in Residence

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From: Kimberly Herbert (kimberly_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:27:05 PDT


This isn't artist in residence, but we do have artist who work in our summer
program. There is one local artist who will teach at CAM over my dead body
or at least my resignation, because she is verbally abusive to the children
(and staff members). I can defend myself and other staff members, but for
the kids even if I defend them to her the damage is done. Fortunately my
boss agrees she is a poor teacher. He never witnessed her berating the kids,
but he caught her drawing on a child's artwork. We have to be civil; her
extended family members are huge patrons. But most of them consider her a
fraud; they don't push us to use her with kids, but would jump all over us
if they heard us putting her down out of family loyalty.

All the other local artists are wonderful, many giving of time and skill.
Others don't teach anymore (retired school art teacher), help in other ways
(like firing all our ceramics for no charge and buying clay in bulk and
selling it at cost then donating an extra bag. When a non-teacher artist
volunteers to teach in our program, I sit down with him/her and go over what
they are going to do, what they need (you would be surprised how many things
artists forget to list on their supplies), his/her expectations of skill
level, and how they would handle a behavior problem. I have to be in the
gallery/art studio area, because our insurance requires we have "guard"
present at all times members of the public are in the area. I stay in my
office, just off the art studio. The artists have never had a problem with
that; actually their first question is "You are not going to leave me alone
with them". I demand that the artists (also staff and volunteers) treat the
children with respect, and that the children treat each other and the adults
with respect. Everyone knows this. The kids and artists both have had
wonderful experiences with this program.

PS. My definition of an adult respecting a child - creates a safe, secure
place for the child, the child's developmental level is taken into
consideration when planning and teaching a lesson, child is never put down
or berated, and behavior is criticized not the child. Any discipline action
taken is appropriate for the misbehavior and age level. My two options are
time out, and calling parents. I've only removed one child from the program
and that was because he was a very young three and not ready for our program
without a parent. He came back the next year, and had a blast.

Kimberly Herbert (kimberly@wcc.net)
CAM Administrator
San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts/Children's Art Museum

-----Original Message-----
From: Alasann1@aol.com [mailto:Alasann1@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2000 8:45 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Christa- bad experience with Artist in Residence

I know there are some AIR's out there that have trouble relating to kids.
But
I dare say you will have a hard time finding one in the state of Kentucky.
We
get an enormous amount of prep to make sure that we are capable of just
that.
Our boss would not let us out and into the schools if he was not absolutely
sure of the capabilities. Sorry this wonderful program has not served you
well. I only wish I could come there and try to change this negative
precedent by serving you as an AIR! I am sure it would be a great experience
for me, and hopefully you too.
Alice Ann in Bowling Green

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