For the first time in my life, I’m working a part-time job. It rules. I leave for work at noon, am home by around 5:30pm, and don’t have to think about work until the next day at noon. There are no politics to mull over, no comp time to calculate, no frustrations with the network being down, and I’m not being pulled in a million different directions. (Not necessarily an evaluation of my time at Luther Place, although…) In fact, my coworkers and supervisor know very little about me. All I’m expected to do is have Fun Art Time with kids.
For those who know me from my late high school/early college days, you’d know that I love Fun Art Time. I’m not even sure how this originated (perhaps with Sarah Wegner or Abby Benson or Jess St. Clair??)…but towards the end of high school, I would make my friends sit down with me and create. I’d empty my art cart out all over the room, and, with usually very few instructions, we’d make art. This continued through freshman year of college, with perhaps the most popular evening attracting 12 of my floormates, all squished into my room in Brandt. Even after college, I forced two of my LVC housemates into Fun Art Time once as I made efforts to recover from a particularly hard breakup. I needed the art therapy, and I convinced them that they needed it too!
Well folks, there’s no time like the present for art therapy! If I needed it then, I most certainly need it now. So in short, I am thrilled that I’m spending my summer as a Fun Art Time intern. In long, the story goes like this: I am a part-time Education Intern at Articulture, a non-profit in Minneapolis that has art opportunities for all ages. During the summer, there are several week-long themed art camps for kids. My first week of work was for a camp called “Paper Caper.” We learned how to make paper, do origami, work with paper mache, etc…and by the end of the week, we had made an entire city (about 6 ft. x 6 ft.) out of paper! The camp was planned and facilitated by two teachers, which is GREAT, because I – one of the four lowly interns – do not have to do any designing of curricula (unless I so choose). Week two was “Musical Arts.” We made a bunch of musical instruments out of random recycled things and played them. This week was “Amazing Maps,” and we created all sorts of treasure maps and did scavenger hunts. Yay! The summer will continue in this fashion with a different camp each week. Articulture is also working with teens to create a community mural, and I hope to be at least a small part of that process. After all, I suppose I’m some sort of muralist now!
The cool thing about Articulture is their philosophy that the process is more important than the outcome. So many art classes give the kids paint-by-number types of projects so that the result is something aesthetically pleasing. Parents expect their kids to come home with a beautiful work of art. We feel differently. It’s about giving the kids a blank piece of paper and letting them create what they want. And if, instead of drawing a cute puppy, they fold and tear the paper into a million pieces, well then…that’s their process! For adults who are goal-oriented and product-centric, it’s a challenge to let go of expectation for kids who are learning. But kids babble to learn to talk, and crawl to walk… it’s okay to let them experiment with art too. Articulture exists to create creative thinkers, not necessarily artists. What a great match for this little girl who thrives on creativity of all kinds!
By the end of my 4- or 5-hour day, I’m exhausted. What??? I used to be a camp counselor, spending entire days and entire nights with kids! I suppose I’m finally getting older. My kids even called me a Grown Up recently. Yuck. All in all, the work is good for the soul and keeping me busy enough but not too busy. Only one month left out here before heading off to school via DC!