Messy Art

This summer, I promised my son that he could take a class of his choosing through our local recreation department. Out of all the sports, sciences and other options, imagine my delight when he chose an art class.

The class was described as getting them creative and messy making art projects from “common household objects” that would “make great gifts.” So I was excited to see what the kids would use and what kind of compositional skills might begin to develop.

I get that the class is for young kids, but after three weeks of his attendance, I have to admit that I’m rather disappointed.

The class would be more accurately named, “Painting and Sticking.” So far, M has yet to bring home a project made from a “common household item.” Instead, he receives pre-cut and pre-drawn paper and paper-like materials and is expected to paint the right colors within the proper lines and stick the cut out construction paper together to create an established design.

Honestly, I haven’t seen much creativity encouraged yet at all. Although I did enjoy how my son interpreted the American flag. I understand that there’s not that much you can really do with 45-minutes, but I have to admit that I was expecting a little bit more. More than cartoon characters and sending the kids home having had lollipops or some other sweet and carrying packs of character-adorned stickers and dollar-store trinkets.

Maybe this is just what a kids’ art class involves. Especially one that doesn’t cost much offered through the local rec center. I suppose I’m glad, at least, that M’s having fun, and it’s not a struggle to get him out the door to go to class each week. And he gets to paint and glue things without me having to clean up after him, and that’s an activity I can definitely do without in my day. Even though I wish he was getting better fundamentals, at least he’s being exposed to something artistic and practicing with a few different materials.

Maybe next summer, I’ll have to save up to actually get him into an art class where he’ll learn some real art skills. Of course, maybe next year, he’ll prefer something more physical instead. I’d love for my kids to learn and enjoy art so that we can share those creative moments, but if I’ve got sporty guys, I guess I’ll grow to love those karate matches or soccer games, too.

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