Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer is exploding with kids classes at the Ah Haa!

Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grown up." I came across this quote a few months ago, while our staff was busy crafting our largest catalogue yet, this summer's 2010 catalogue. When I got to the kids section, I remembered this quote and decided to make this summer's catalogue the answer to that question, or as close to it as I could come anyway. The more we worked on the catalogue, the equation became simple: amazing instructors (the ones that excite and inspire), combined with free and open projects (the ones that allow kids to really soar) and seasoned with a rainbow of different artistic disciplines (the kind which adult artists use for making sense of the world around them). This was the equation. Treat everyone like an artist and give them room to run.

I think that the reason why adults sometimes fail to "remain artists", as Picasso puts it, is because we fail to remain kids. We replace responsibility for our mortgage, or our jobs, with responsibility for our hearts, or the exercizing of our imagination. I was a classroom teacher for the six years prior to my time at Ah Haa and when creating that kids portion of our catalogue, I've often had to fight against my "adult-teacher" instinct to map out all the learning that will take place in each class.

How do I do that?

I help out in classes, where I can hang out with kids and watch my wonderful open instructors work towards smiles and imagination. I ask kids what they're making and listen and where their inspiration comes from, no matter how much sense it makes. Most of all, I ask my adult artists. They don't need to try and think like kids....they never really left.

Come to the Ah Haa this summer. 150 kids classes and 60 adult classes. Reconnect with your imagination.

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