When we open ourselves to art, we open ourselves to the world – to beauty, craft, to different cultures, to pain and pleasure, expression and emotion.

Calling All Art Lovers, Ages 9–14

A student contemplates Patrick Dougherty's Betwixt and Between

By the end of this year’s holiday break, tweens will have used up all their gift cards, re-watched every Harry Potter film, and finished every last candy cane in the house. What’s left? Get them off the couch to join me at the Museum for two days of gallery exploration, sketching, and independent studio time. Just as enlightenment happens between the moments of everyday life, inspiration can strike in between the moments of listening and creating. Letting the children wander freely among the art and giving them time to be drawn or repelled by certain works without suggestion has become a cherished part of my classes over the past decade of teaching here at the Gibbes. Where better than an art museum to offer these chunks of unscheduled time? The Gibbes offers a safe haven for children as legitimate lovers of art: to discover what they like—or don’t—about the works they encounter. I like to remind my students that the paintings make no distinction about who is in front of them—viewers stand on equal ground, adult and child alike. The next time you see a child sitting with a drawing board in front of a three hundred year–old portrait in our galleries, take note. Observe her body language as she engages with the work and begins to draw what she sees. Free of expectation and empowered to be her true self, the young artist settles in and “reads” the piece in front of her. Watch as her pencil slowly begins its beautiful arc.

Students engage with artwork during an in-gallery activity
Students engage with artwork during an in-gallery activity

The times I’ve enjoyed most are the gaps in instruction when we pop up to the galleries and take some free time to interact with the artwork. This December, we’re offering a little something different for students age 9–14: based on individual interests and self–study, we’ll be pulling inspiration from the Pan American Modernism exhibition as well as the Gibbes’ permanent collection for a unique camp experience. We’re looking for creative and inspired artists for two days of unique art sessions on Thursday, December 28 and Friday, December 29. Students will be encouraged to find their own voice using a variety of media: pencil, ink, paint, and collage. I hope to see you there!

Campers enjoy sketching with friends in the galleries
Campers enjoy sketching with friends in the galleries

Martha Criscuolo, Gibbes Teaching Artist and guest blogger
December 6, 2017

Register Today for Gibbes Winter Camp.

Top Image: A student contemplates Patrick Dougherty’s Betwixt and Between in the second floor of the Gibbes Museum

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