1) Exposure to a variety of techniques and materials. It is great to focus on a specific medium in order to hone a skill , but I have found a great option for beginners and professionals alike is to experiment with as many kinds of art as possible. Kids (especially) should have access and exposure to the arts in many forms. As they get older, they may find one or two art forms that really attracts them, but the greater exposure early on can instill a love of art and a creative mind.
2) Some art history - To truly appreciate art, we need to know the context of it. Who was the artist? What was going on in his/her world at the time? What is his/her story? Every week, I introduce my students to a different artist/artwork using "art cards". Each card goes along with the project of the week, and all the cards are reviewed each week. By the end of the school year, students are able to recall up to 25 different works of art along with the stories of the artists.
3) Art, not crafts - nothing against crafts (my kids were raised on popsicle sticks , glue and craft paper), but I want my students to understand the basic principles and elements that make art "art". We may still use popsicle sticks and craft paper, but students will learn to view them in different ways, hopefully seeing lots of possibilities from ordinary materials.
4) Observe, not memorize - If I walk through a step by step format of how to draw an apple, I am confident my students will all be able to duplicate my drawing. However, if I give them an apple and they study it for it's lines, colors, values and textures, and then draw or paint what they SEE, they will come away with more than just a memory of a step by step drawing. They will have learned how to observe and draw/paint any other object they see as well.
5) Freedom to Fail - I LOVE when my students get to the point where they begin asking, "what will happen if.....?" Risk is an important part of creating art, and fear of failure is one of the greatest enemies. I give my students a lot of room to explore and experiment, not worrying about how the final product may turn out. Success is based off of the process, not the product.
6) An appreciation of art - When you understand how to look at non-represenational or expressionist art, as well as realistic, it can provide a new, exciting experience when visiting a museum, looking through art books, etc. Whether my students become life long artists or not, this can be a very helpful resource.
7) Age appropriate lessons - I currently have classes for ages 6-10, and other classes for ages 11 and up, another class for just high schoolers and others for adults. In my younger classes, we cover a lot of ground in a short time. Who wants to sit and listen to a lecture for an hour and a half? I include a lesson, at least 1 project (sometimes we do 2), and if time, an art related game. There's time for socializing, time for listening, and time for working and the kids seem to do really well with the schedule. Older students spend a bit more time interacting around the lesson. I ask a lot of questions to get them thinking about art. They have more planning time to think through their projects, and I encourage more individuality than with the younger students. In my high school and adult classes, I act more as a coach. I want them to have a lot of freedom to bring their own style and creativity to their artwork, so I will work hard to guide them in discovering those. I ask a lot of questions, encourage them to problem solve and then we do critiques to help them learn how to challenge themselves. I also like to see them build a portfolio (crucial if they plan on applying to art schools, but good to have regardless).
8) Small Group Interaction - I limit my classes to no more than 8 students. I want my students to be able to interact with peers and make friends, but I want to keep them small enough to allow for plenty of one - on- one attention.
9) I'm learning too! - I've been teaching art classes for over 20 years now, but I'm also a professional working acrylic artist. My work is currently showing in a gallery, I've entered contests, I've designed for clients, and am still growing as an artist in my own field, so I'm better able to pass along that information and experience to my students.
10) All Inclusive and convenient - I try to keep things simple. All materials are included in my prices. I'm a vendor with most of the charter schools in town (IDEA, Family Partnership, Denali Peak), so payment options are easy. I plan my school year classes by the semester so lessons can build on each other. Students save 10% off the cost of instruction by registering for an entire semester.
Keep learning and creating! To schedule a class with me, check out my "classes" page and contact me to reserve a spot.