My art story starts at home. As a child, I was blessed to be taken by my mother to see the local artisans in the community where I grew up in WV yearly for craft shows. The community where I grew up didn't have an art education program available until I was in Junior High School. The artists that started my love for making things and sharing my creativity started within my own community. Hidden in the hills of WV are some amazingly creative individuals that have long traditions of craft and expression that have been passed down through the generations. In my own home town of Beckley, WV you can quickly stop by Tamarack to see a variety of artisans in their studios hard at work or browse through the gallery. The community of artists is an ongoing source of inspiration and pride.
Memories of traveling up to Pittsburg on occasion to be inspired still are vivid in my memory. One day is clear in my mind when I went to see work at the Mattress Factory. The docent led me down a row of old houses where she unlocked a door and let me in. Alone, I entered the home to experience Ann Hamilton's art installation that would forever change how I view art experiences.
At first I feared going to the top floor but reminded myself that this experience was ART. On the top floor to my surprise I found birds nibbling away at the bird seed suspended in the wax melting beneath the coffin shaped container of face forms. There was a beauty within the decay and I found myself frozen in that moment questioning life, materials and how I define art. Later, I was fortunate to meet a Professor Beckley at an art reception and he asked me about the art that inspires me and Ann Hamilton's work fueled a long discussion. Later that year I was thrilled to be contacted and invited to a lecture and diner with the artist afterwards. She remains a source of inspiration, strength, and humility that shows in all of her artistic installations or experiences.
Each child has a visual voice ready to reworked, polished or woven together in a new and exciting way. Beyond the tough exteriors of a typical teenager, we must, as educators push forward to explore the creative inspiration inside us all.
What art or artistic experiences have molded the way you view art?
Students also have a wonderful opportunity to share their own inspiration through the Doodle for Google Annual Contest.
Be sure to check out the other wonderful art educators sharing their own artistic inspiration via the links below!
Participating Art Teacher Blogs: