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Eyes on fire

September 9, 2010

Yesterday after school, AJ and I walked up the road to my yoga studio for a kids open house. Like the rest of us, Yoga Mom was outraged about the axing of music and art from the schools. But unlike most of us, she decided to do something about it. She’s free, drop-in art and music days in her studio two afternoons a month. Yoga Mom studied studio art in college and there are framed paintings of hers all over her house. She loves music, but will be the first to tell you she’s no expert, especially in the classical department. But she thought if she at least played some music that the kids might not otherwise here, then maybe it might inspire them.

Yesterday was the first one. Her artists of the day were Matisse and Bach. She brought in a framed Matisse collage and a whole lot of paper, magazine pages, scissors and glue sticks. A stunning 16 children showed up, some with parents in tow — a huge number for an event that she didn’t do much to advertise. All of the kids were from our neighborhood or were children of her yoga students. The ages ranged from 3 or 4 to 13.

AJ and I showed up about 15 minutes late, as we had to finish our Latin lesson first. He immediately spotted The Boy Next Door (Yoga Mom’s son) and went over to work next to him. The kids were all busy with their collages. A framed print of a Matisse collage was leaning against the front wall next to a globe. Yoga Mom said she tried to talk a little bit about Matisse and where he was from before they started, but she’d put out the art supplies before the kids came in and they were already up to their elbows in paper before she could get their attention. “Next time I’ll know better,” she laughed.

When the kids were finished, they all lined up and took turns presenting their work. “Tell us what you like about your collage,” Yoga Mom asked.

The first few, all fourth grade girls, mumbled through their favorite things — horses and puppies mostly. Then the 4-year-old sister strode out and said clearly and with confidence, “What I like about my picture is the cucumbers and the horses and the fire,” and then just as confidently strode back to her spot and sat down. After that, the presentations got bolder. A small boy stood up and said, “What I like is the DINOSAUR.” Others liked colors and shapes. AJ made a collage on black paper of a whole bunch of eyeballs, including a magazine spread about Chicago’s Eye, which we still have not seen. He added some flames, an arrow. some shapes and a couple of random letters. “What I like is that the eye is on fire.”

It had been a stressful and frustrating day in the work department, but I left the studio feeling good about people. What a great thing to offer the community — and something it really needs right now.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    September 9, 2010 1:33 pm

    Wow! How great is that! I also would love to see any picture that has horses, cucumbers and fire in it.

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