Tag Archives: elementary art

not about shibori

Prompted by a visit to the LA County Fair which ended this weekend I offer the following post. It was originally written for my other blog and is posted there as well. I think you might find it interesting and since I don’t have a new post here at the moment…….

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about art and kids. Really. Several times a day if you have to know the truth.

I don’t even have kids in school any longer. Both my boys are now in college pursuing their interests in
music, performance, and recording arts and sciences. I have always advocated for them to do what they love. Obviously not for the money- that will come in time- but for the enjoyment and love of life itself. Working a job you hate just for the money is no way to go about living life. But I digress.

The current state of affairs in the fourth grade classroom this year is that they simply are not interested.
Not interested in having two people who are passionate about art and kids come into a classroom once a week and give an hour long lesson for free. Supplies included for the most part. Generally we spend a minimum of 10 hours a week between the two of us in discussions, preparation, online research, and gathering of materials. This is public school. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

We have decided we are not going to pursue it any longer. We’ve sent emails, had our phone # given to the teacher and had no response whatsoever. We are looking for a new classroom. One that wants us there. We will be taking applications this time. We have requirements. If you think you know someone who is interested in applying, let us know. This is not about the individual teacher-she has said she wanted us to return. But I think that we have a system in our public schools that just really ties the hands of the teachers and forces them to do so much testing and crazy nonsense that they are really not free to teach anymore. Yes, I know we could probably go to a private school but I really believe in educating everyone equally and public school is it. At least for now. Even after school programs don’t interest me as much.
Or perhaps we will find somewhere else to spend this energy that benefits kids. We will reconvene after I return from the Houston show. We are thinking about what we are doing wrong. And right.

I also just returned from a visit to the LA County Fair which just ended this past weekend. I always like going there and seeing the student art displays. This year was no exception. It gives me hope. That there still are some public schools out there teaching art. I saw some marvelous student work.

I visited the Millard Sheets Gallery and saw some fabulous work in the current exhibition “Footprints” directed by Tony Sheets, Millard’s son. Many of Millard Sheets paintings and works are displayed courtesy of the Sheets family. Millard Sheets believed and acted on his commitment to “Bring Art to the People” by designing and overseeing the building of the arts building at the Los Angeles County Fair site in Pomona and filling it each year with a show of paintings and art. Never before had art of this caliber been available at a county fair.

the following is from Millard Sheets obit in the NYT from 1989:

“Millard Sheets, a prolific painter, a designer of more than 100 buildings and for 26 years an art professor at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., died at his home in Gualala, Calif., on Saturday. He was 81 years old.
Mr. Sheets was born in Pomona, Calif., and graduated in 1929 from the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. In 1943 and 1944 he served as war artist for Life magazine, stationed in India and Burma. During the early 1960’s he founded Millard Sheets Design Inc., an architectural firm in Claremont that designed banks, schools, malls and private homes mostly in California and Texas. He served as the chairman of the art department at Scripps, the art director at Claremont Graduate School for 16 years, and as director of the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles from 1950 to 1956. ”

I was introduced to Millard Sheets and his work by my friend “Woody” (AKA Melvin Wood) many years ago (say 30) as Woody used to work in Millard’s studio during the Home Savings and Loan days when Millard designed, built and installed the many fabulous public art pieces that were commissioned by the bank and are still there today. We used to go on jaunts with Woody around the southland on weekends and in between visiting our favorite cactus or orchid nurseries we would drive by many of these sites and admire the craftsmanship and design. Woody was famous for his stories about working with Millard and the many artists from Claremont and Pomona Colleges that abounded in that era. His relationship with Millard Sheets brought him into contact with the many great artists of that time including Sam Maloof (furniture maker), Harrison McIntosh (ceramist), & Rupert Deese to name a few. He put us in touch with the concrete men who did much of the casting for these sculptures and these guys came out of retirement and cast our piece for USC back in the late 70’s. Another interesting fact about Woody was that he was one of the original artists on the “Gumby” television show, doing the claymation work that allowed the figures to move. Pre- Nickolodean! Many good stories about those times as well. Woody was a great artist in his own right and I have a number of his pieces that I hold dear. Millard and Woody shared a common interest in teaching at the college level and Woody retired from teaching art at Cerritos College before moving to his moutaintop in Mendicino where he passed away more than a decade ago now. I often think of all of them and imagine their combined creative energies whenever I encounter their work in my world.

If you are interested in seeing a great exhibit of Millard Sheets’ work, you can visit the exhibit Damngorgeous: Millard Sheets and his California Legacy
September 13 – Jan 4
at the Oceanside Museum Of Art

maybe i should just become a photographer…

at the risk of boring you to death with yet another instance of image “nicking” i again feel the need to publish this little story on behalf of those of us out there putting up our works online for others to view and perhaps along the way, we might (god forbid) be rewarded financially for our efforts. or at least given a little credit.

yes, there was another “incident” last night. (go back a few posts to read about previous incidents)
a local self proclaimed arts advocate used one of the photos i posted on my blog Elementary Art in a newsletter that was emailed to their mailing list (quite large I would assume) as well as on their website on a page advocating for one of my personal favorite causes-art education (if you go there now, he has redirected the page to something else so as to obfuscate his misdeed-it originally was where the photo he “borrowed” of mine resided ).
while you might imagine this would tickle me to death (gee..i’m flattered…. AGAIN) i was not.
“why?” you might ask. well to start, there was no permission granted nor asked for regarding the use of this image. nor was there any attribution. no link to the Elementary Art blog, no mention of Elementary Art at all! in addition, the image was of two students (minors) and no photographers release had been granted to them for use this image. just so happens i know the parents of these kids and while they have given ME permission to use the image on MY blog they in NO WAY intended it to be taken and used for any other purpose!
when this was brought to the attention of the offending party and a suggestion made that they could donate any $ amount of their choosing to go towards supplies in the classroom this year for Elementary Art as a payment for use of the image to promote their good deeds to the community, they simply apologized and declined. so much for their motto….”creativity ………is ACTION!”
i guess they mean action that OTHERS should take to promote the arts.
yes, i am feeling a little bitter this morning. i think that this community’s art’s organizations have become one giant press release. as one artist so aptly proclaimed, “public art has become public relations”. Go here and listen to what an Artist Himself says about the future of the arts in Long Beach.
it appears as if there may be a new bureau of arts and cultural affairs formed in the City Manager’s office sometime soon. i wonder who could be vying for a place at that public trough?

okay, okay enough bs! perhaps my sour mood is also reflective of the respiratory virus that has been attacking me for the past couple of days. most likely. today i am left with *only* the racking cough and am ready to get back to my Real Work. excuse me while i retreat into the studio for the rest of the week.

before i go….i will add that aside from working on the rest of my current orders, building inventory and planning my workshop for houston Quilt Festival (there might be a couple spots left-can’t guarantee it though) i am taking Susan Sorrell’s Organic Design online class. it’s all about “free-motion hand stitching/embroidery” . my term, not hers. but it reminds me of free motion machine stitching-only done by hand and mind. i need to turn off here and check out a bit to really get into it.
here goes………………….