Ethan Goes to Art Camp and Supporting the Arts

This past week, thanks to the Charlotte Art League, Ethan has been attending their 4-8 year old art camp. It is a four day camp where this year they are teaching kids about sustainability in art. He has really enjoyed the time this week.

What they Talked About

On Monday the concentration was painting. They painted canvases using many different types of paint and discussed the world’s top 10 painters. Tuesday they talked about sculpting and the top 5 sculpture’s in history and used natural items and clay to sculpt a bird nest. Wednesday they studied the art of Printmaking and Mixed Media art. They made their own brayers and print block out of reclaimed and natural items.Thursday they introduced the kids to Upcycled Art. Ethan was asked to bring some items from home to use in his artwork which he was happy to oblige.

Ethan going to art camp was something that we wanted him to do. It was his first ever week long camp and we had some reasons for him going this week. The first was to see how he was behave and if he would get into any trouble. Sometimes parenting feels like it is about getting them to behave. The second reason was to introduce him to the arts. I know that he is only five, however Ethan is very creative and I wanted him to explore it.

“I enjoyed playing and making cool stuff like painting pictures and coloring and making a bird nest.” – Ethan

Lately, Ethan has been drawing a lot more. He’ll get some paper and make figures, people and more. I believe he enjoyed the time making and creating art as well as making friends. Kids at this age don’t know what they want to do, they want to have fun. All of this got me thinking about a couple of things.

Are the Arts gender focused?

One thing that I noticed when I dropped off Ethan at art camp was that he was outnumbered 5-1. There were five total girls in his class and he was the only boy. Now I realize that there could have been a number of reasons why there wasn’t as many boys in the class. One question still remains, “Are the arts gender focused?” Are we as educators and parents encouraging girls to only get involved with the arts and leave the science and math to boys? I want my boys to be well rounded [as they grow up].

My boys don’t have to be in love with art, math, science, band or wood working, but I want them to at least be introduced to it. When I was in high school, it was strongly encouraged for the guys to take Home Economics as well as the ladies to take wood shop. Because of this, I know how to sew by hand, make a beveled angle on a table saw and how to do simple crafts.

Programs Getting Cut

As a result of less funding, art and music programs are suffering, whereas science and math are getting more funding. Globally, there are less and less opportunities for both boys to excel in the fine arts. Parents need to encourage their kids to get involved with the arts, take an art class in school. You never know what types of creativity can be unlocked in your kid because they attended an art camp or music camp when they are young.

Get Involved

As the organizer for Charlotte Dads Group, we get invited to participate in the arts. Back in May, we had our very first Dads, Kids and Brushes at the Charlotte Art League. One of our local Charlotte Dads, taught a painting class to some Charlotte Dads Kids. It was a wonderful time mixing colors, getting messy and getting introduced to the arts.

Here are some practical ways to get involved: donate art supplies, money and even your time to the arts. Take a class. Encourage your kids to take an art class. Get involved.  The more you get involved the more your kids will want to be involved.

For more information about the Charlotte Art League please visit their website here.

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