By Grace Hooley | Echo
The faint smell of finger paint mixed with the blinding fluorescent lights meant new opportunities to create. Tape, crayons and construction paper dotted the moon-shaped tables. There's no doubt this is an elementary art classroom.
Taylor students majoring in art education and pre-art therapy are recreating the ways children in the community do art. On Fridays from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. for four weeks, seven of these Taylor students taught art to children in the community.
"It gives me experience in teaching art, being able to manage a space for art and also being able to connect with children and help foster their creativity through art," said junior Hannah Tolentino, a pre-art therapy major.
As teachers unlock the doors to each of their individually themed classrooms, student creativity is soon also unlocked.
"It's to activate their mind in a creative way," said founder of the program Kathy Herrmann, the supervisor of this program and assistant professor of art education and pre-art therapy at Taylor. "They get excited, and they are very proud when they come and show their family the artwork. It's good for teachers and it's good for families to see what their children can do."
Taylor art education and pre-art therapy majors worked with a partner to create a weekly lesson plan, decorate the room and make or teach a project. Themes included, the Wild West, "around the world," with piñatas and decorations from China. underwater with seahorses dancing around the room and activism art. Most students liked the opportunity for hands-on experience with teaching, but some thought shorter class times would be easier.
"I love working with the kids," said sophomore Leah Groeling, a pre-art therapy major. "They always bring me so much joy and brighten my day, (but) an hour and half of art can be difficult for . . . them to focus."
To cover general costs, parents paid $10 for each child in the program. There were 23 children in the program this year, with every grade represented.
It's taken some tweaking, but Herrmann believes she has the program down. She enjoys watching the children grow and learn, and the parents of the children are encouraging as well.
"We have very supportive parents," said Cindy Reishus, program assistant for the art department. "They're (also) helpful. They don't complain. (There is) very good interaction."
In order to commemorate their success, on Monday, Nov. 13, an art gallery opened exhibiting the children's art. The teachers explained what the four weeks consisted of, and the parents were allowed to go into classrooms to view their children's work.
Creativity is in the world all around us. You can find it in a magnificent painting at an expensive gallery, or you can find it in one of the Taylor classrooms where an art education or pre-art therapy student is teaching the next generation.
"I get excited seeing the children - just the excitement they have and showing the work they've made," Herrmann said. "Just for children to feel proud of something they've accomplished is a good thing."