Something you might not know about me is that I got into the art world later than most artists.
I started making art at five years old with my parents’ constant encouragement. I dreamed of being an artist…but somehow, I ended up spending almost two decades in finance instead. And I was miserable.
One day (over 10 years ago now), I was watching my oldest son, Christian, doodling. He held up his finished drawing to show me. It was a clown.
I felt so many things looking at that drawing: Joyful. Resentful. Hopeless.
Mostly, I felt inspired. That was the day I decided to return to my dream of being an artist.
I also felt proud that I was raising my child to love and appreciate art. Christian’s drawing reminded me that giving our children creative outlets–and helping them appreciate the process, effort, and thought that goes into making art–is one of the most crucial things we can do as parents.
Even if you’re not artistically inclined, you can help your child develop an appreciation for art, and all of the critical thinking skills that go along with that love.
How to Raise a Kid Who Loves Art
- Give them plenty of materials. Keep a cabinet-full of scrap paper, markers, pencils, pens, clay, glue, glitter…the list goes on. Don’t forget that kids see the potential in things we sometimes think of as trash, either (old watch parts, beads from a broken necklace).
- Make time for creating. Obviously, if your kid is parked in front of the TV all day Saturday, he won’t be getting the same kind of creative time. Try sitting down with your kids for an hour of crafting time. It might stretch into two…or three.
- Expose them to different kinds of art. Take kids to art museums, galleries, and pop-up exhibits. If they’re younger, find places to take them where they can touch things (like the Children’s Museum).
- Avoid criticizing. Instead, ask questions.
- Show them how art is connected to everything. Humans are visual creatures. This will never change. We prize beauty and visual interest–whether we find it on a gallery wall, in the sleek design of a modern armchair, or in the red-gold glow of the New Orleans sun setting behind the levee.
- Let them know that handmade presents are precious. It’s more than likely that your kids’ allowances (and their capacity to earn their own money) will grow as they get older. But their ability and desire to create one-of-a-kind gifts for those they hold dear will only grow if you help them learn to treasure it.
Let them know that art is a real career choice. I wake up every morning thrilled to go to “work,” because the work I do has always felt like play to me.
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