Sunday, April 26, 2009

Preschool Art Chair: Before and After

As room parent in Lyra's class, it was my responsibility to have the children decorate a piece of furniture to be auctioned off at the school Gala. EEK. This is the sort of thing that causes parents to all of a sudden become very busy at work and home with other things. It fills so many parents with dread that the school even hired an artist to help out painting special backgrounds etc. if room parents needed extra help.

We had to pick the chair color last fall from a selection of very pale and plain colors. I ordered a cream colored on (it's wasn't as green it looks in the picture) but it was pretty darn BLAH. There was no option to have a black or dark brown chair, either of which would have been really cool foil for some bright colors. I did not want to have to repaint the whole thing and was struggling with what to have the children do that would really be their work but still look pretty. The children are all 2 years old or just turned 3, so any sort of "representational art" project would be very difficult.

Fortunately, a couple of parents in Lyra's class offered to help out and one of them had the idea of having the children sponge paint the chair. This was BRILLIANT because a freeform project like this would allow the kids to really paint the chair themselves but the result would still be something you'd want to have in your home.

I traced Lyra's hand and my hand, shrunk it down to 2/3 the size on the copier and traced them onto contact paper so we would have handprints left on the chair when the painting was done. That turned out to be a good use of the very boring color of the chair. I wrote everyone's name in a handprint using a ultrafine blue sharpie.

It's CUTE! (Though I wish I had better handwriting) I hope it raises a good amount of money for the school. The next piece of furniture I paint will be for our family and not on anyone's deadline but my own. I'd say I wouldn't do this again but I want to use up all the paint and polyurethane we have leftover. Plus the kids are fired up to do their own project now.

Every time I do something like this, I am struck by how weird our society is about art. So many say the are not creative or "artsy craftsy." Sometimes it seems there is the perception that only special and gifted people can create art. Sometimes I get the sense that people feel art and craftwork are valuable or important ways of spending time. Either way it is sad that so many people feel they are not creative or that creative activities are not an important way to spend time. Who didn't love doing this stuff growing up? That makes no sense to me. One of the best things about having kids is it has given me the opportunity to go back to the creative and art activities I loved as a child.

No comments: