Everywhere you look you see a child in front of a TV, a tablet, a computer, or a smart phone. It seems as years go by, the children get distracted by these devices at a younger age. With all the advances in digital technology and social media in the 21st century kids spend less time doing kid things. When I was younger I enjoyed to sew from the fabric scraps my mother had, or play in the snow. In the summer running through the parks discovering nature, or sitting back reading a paperback book were some of my favorite past times. There was no such things as YouTube tutorials, and how-to-do apps.
As much as these advancements serve a fantastic purpose, and can be a great tool for kids, all kids should "unplug" once in a while and learn to create fun from their OWN imagination through self-guided discovery.
Some of the best artists did things at their time that were considered "eccentric", or their art wasn't even considered art, or masterpieces because it was "different". Being different is OK. With TV, and Media constantly putting pressure on our children to look and be a certain way 24-7 whether to compete with other children in school, or to be a team player "popular" no lesson is more valuable for them to learn than to be their OWN person.
Art allows a child to be weird, different, eccentric, outgoing, introverted, sad, happy, mad, or glad in a productive way that not only helps them gain confidence and healing, but it also helps them develop their own identity. Kids who are confident in their individuality do better in school, and socially as well. In the attempt to make our kids more well rounded so that they can become productive adults we sometimes forget to let their hearts guide their path.
Art speaks what no words can, in a beautiful way. Some of the greatest pieces of art I ever made were composed of beautiful mistakes. Art teaches kids that they can make lemonade out of lemons, and it also teaches them to search for beauty in every facet of life.
Due to popular demand, I will be offering Intermediate acrylic painting and drawing classes for adults starting April.2017 at Michaels every Wednesday from 3PM to 5PM at the Polo Park location.
This class is ideal for Artists with some painting and drawing experience who would like to learn how to work with specialty brushes, neon and metallic paints, sponges and painting knives tricks and techniques.
From taking these classes you will learn how to:
1. Reduce paint waste
2. Save time by mastering specialty brush stroke techniques
3. Learn how to create a hyper realistic piece with only two to three brushes
4. Learn how to create texture with finger and sponge painting techniques
5. How to take photography of your choice and render it into a gorgeous painting in class in under 2 hours. (Students must submit their images a week before hand.)
6. Receive one on one coaching in a small class room setting to work out you =r learning kinks in the classroom so you can focus your energy on creating beautiful artwork at home faster.
Students are recommended to sign up for a one month series of 1 class per week to learn intermediate foundation skills and receive adequate coaching.
Each week we will cover the following categories with students having the ability to select the subject area they would like to focus on based on their interests:
Register in person @ Michaels Polo Park and automatically get 40% off of your Grumbacher student supplies and in-store savings!
Art is an automatic cultural education tool that brings people from different cultures together.
Just like music art speaks to everyone in a unique language that is received by each individual differently. As ancient and classic oil and acrylic paintings are a historical cultural archive, by studying art one can learn about various cultures without traveling in a non-intimidating fashion.Art has the power of decreasing in differences in two separate individuals through the process of art education.
People from two completely different walks of life can connect over the same piece art. Just like music and dance, visual arts is a communication of the deepest thought and feelings of the mind and soul. Feelings that even the Artist who created the piece does not always understand to explain.
Art has a way of showing how incredibly similar we are to each other. Kids who may have conflict with each other are suddenly calm and congenial with each other after participating in an art class together. When I was beginning my awkward pre-teen years I met my best friend of my childhood through participating in an art class. He was quiet, shy, and kind of anti-social, but we connected over the same drawing interests while sitting beside each other in detention (lol).I talked to him for months before he finally said a word to me. He showed up at my house one day after school, after I had totally forgotten about him and given up. It turns out that although we were from two completely different cultures we had a lot in common, and so it goes. This same friend was for many years, the only one encouraging me to pursue my artistic interests professionally.
If you are interested in having your child receive an arts education that teaches them about different cultures, sign them up for an art class that focuses on one or more cultures. The art class can be anything from how to make moccasins, to decorating Ukrainian eggs. As long as their is art history included in the class your child will easily learn about another culture, and will in turn gain more social skills, and cultural understanding.
A child with cultural understanding will transition better in school in their teen years, and will also be a better team player when they enter the workforce. For more information on my cultural enrichment art workshops for schools and daycare's please visit:
How about a little art prescription therapy?
For years, researchers believed that addictions was a disease, and that at the utmost it could only be treated with medications, and rehabilitation centers with very little hope of recovery. What researchers have know learned, and studies have shown is that addiction can come from childhood trauma, but also from a lack of adequate healthy social connections in ones adult life. It is important to separate the person from the addiction, and realize that every addict has the hope of recovery.
I can honestly say that I have never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, but I have been to dance and fitness. One might say how can addiction to physical exercise be bad? Well amazingly it is. It can reak havoc on your joints, muscles, organs and heart. Too much of a good thing, is just that. The question is when do you draw the line? When does it end? For me I had to realize that me as a person mattered more than looking like girls in fitness magazines, I dance because I love it, and I am good at it. Winning in a dance competition because I have trained a little extra is a bonus. Plus exercise IS something that should be apart of our daily routine. The difference between an addiction to a hobby and an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or prescriptions is that it is never a healthy hobby even in small doses.
In my childhood like many others, I experienced trauma. I didn't want to fall into drinking, drugs or cigarettes, so I turned to health and fitness and creativity to cope with my emotions. Unlike exercise, creativity never hurt my physical body, spirit, mind or emotions, and as long as I stayed on a budget.
For a couple of years I worked in Downtown Winnipeg as a an Art Therapist/ Outreach Worker in two different Drop-In Art Centers located in temporary homeless shelters. At first only one or two people came to the class, then bit by bit more came until the entire room was full of students. A room full of students than transformed into three volunteers, which lead to two casual paid assistant positions with myself. Empowering participants through individual and group artwork sessions to build confidence, gain social skills, personal life ambitions, and heal from trauma could came with 30 mins. to 3 hours here and there. I truly believe that:
"Transformed people, transform people."
To conquer any challenge in life. we all need a mentor and a positive role mode. I try to be that person for my students by making art more approachable and less intimidating.
cognitive behavior patterns that lead to having an addictive personality can be unlearned from cognitive rehabilitation, and art therapy is a proven method of success. This is why I have found in my occupational experience, that so many people who are attempting to recover have failed with scheduled counselling and prescription medications. Art doesn't need to have a structured, rigid format to be art, and the path of recovery isn't a clear 12 step program either.
The goal of an art class for the purpose of therapy or creative expression for an individual should be healing, at their own pace. Un-prescribed, raw, non-methodical, self-lead healing. Sometimes when working on an art piece new light can be shed on areas of darkness as the brain begins to work better as decision making patterns begin to shift and align.
Being an "addict" can usually carry a much more heavier meaning. Usually when someone is an addict there is determinatal affects of the addiction already present in their life. No one can go back in time and change their past, However, art can help them re-frame it into something positive. This opens the door for the addictions to speak less, so the heart of the addict can speak more. Opening the individual up to talk to therapists, and even sometimes family about their experiences so they can move on, and move up in their life.
A previous addict can not be successful in life management if they have not worked on the root cause of their addiction, their "triggers." Triggers can come at any time for any reason, no matter how positive a person is trying to be. Whether it is dance, music, fitness, fixing an old car, or painting mini figurines, everyone needs a hobby to "escape" to or express those triggers in a positive fashion.
If it wasen't for the the mentors I had (dance and art teachers), I wouldn't be the person I am today. I know one thing for sure, arts saved my life. Every one deserves excitement and adventure in their lives as part of Maslow's Hierarchy needs.
Stephanie A.E Strugar
Certified Grumbacher Painting & Drawing Instructor.
She is a retired Certified Face/ Body & Temporary Tattoo Artist.
Caricaturist. She is currently an active
Public Speaker, Consultant, and Arts Educator in the Manitoba and greater Canada area.