Thinking Out of the Box

Thinking Out of the Box: Swoon 39

How does one teach high school students ceramics through a daily email and video lesson… when the kids have no clay, glazes, wheels, or kilns at their homes? They rename the class sculpture and have their students use items around their homes to create 3D objects, ask them to photograph their results, and wait to see what happens. Today a parent posted her high schooler’s solution to the assignment “create a color wheel out of household items”, with a lovely thank you to my art teacher husband. This kid hit it out of the park. They used their ability to think, to see, and to design… to create a thing of beauty and happiness for everyone reading her mom’s post. Joy.

Why do I love artists? It’s a good question. They are fickle, moody, very hard on themselves, impatient, and needy. They are also the people you WANT around in a pandemic. They have the ability to think out of the box.

The musical director (I think that is his title) for Madison Square Garden lives in our town. He is quiet and lovely, understated, you would never know he is the guy running the show and playing for the MSG sporting games you watch on tv. His wife (also a brilliant artist) has been posting clips of him performing one song each night. He is technically beyond anything I have ever heard, but it is the unique energy and soul that is just overwhelming. He creates another world in three minutes… a song you thought you knew becomes something else. It is magic.

I was once working with a high schooler on a play… he was helping me rig a life size Beast puppet (Beauty and the Beast). It needed to rise above the audience and magically change into the live prince. We are talking a high school play, and not Broadway, our town goes a little over the top with plays. I created the puppet with old stuff from around my house, wire, bubble wrap (very much like muscle), boxes, clothing supplied by the costume team, and a wig. My high school helper looked at the life size Beast before him and said, how did you learn how to make this (this was pre youtube tutorials for “how to make a life size Beast puppet”). My answer, I went to art school, we are taught that there are millions of solutions for every problem. A class of 20 kids will have to come up with 80 solutions, different solutions. This kid was going to be valedictorian and this kid’s mind was blown. He had never thought of artists as smart. He learned something.

Currently artists are creating new businesses, 3D printing masks for hospitals, figuring out how to make ventilators work on numerous people at a time, programming apps, teaching online classes, sharing music, keeping children happy… they are doers, they are makers, they are the sunshine in a storm. Artists think out of the box and create where there was nothing before. Swoon.

HS Distance Learning Assignment: Create a color wheel from household items. Brilliant student solution. Swoon.

Published by Kat

A mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a graphic designer. I am flawed... but I try.

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