Making Headway…

4 Oct

I am still getting used to teaching this art class, and feel like it is still evolving (hopefully getting better each time) as I try new things to see what works and what doesn’t. So far I have gotten some clarity…



  • 2 classes is much better than 1
  • I love teaching the older class and am less enthusiastic about teaching the younger kids
  • Having routines works well
  • Closing the door once class starts is key
  • I may need to actually make 2 separate lesson plans- one for the younger class and one for the older, this way maybe I will be able to hold the younger kid’s attention
  • I need to emphasize and challenge the kids to think individually and creatively in each project



This week we finished our abstract paintings, and truly they were quite beautiful to look at by the end. In the beginning of class, however, when we got out the paintings the kids were working on, I had about 5 kids come up saying they had already finished and wanted another piece of paper. I turned them down on that request and challenged them to look back at their painting and think about what they could chance/add/enhance. I showed the kids examples of more abstract paintings, and with some would refer back to these paintings to give them examples of elements that they could apply to their own. In the end no one really needed another piece of paper and the kids were completely occupied with finishing the same painting they had worked on last class. Some thought outside the box- one girl in particular, who just started coming this week, used a lot of swirling colors that blended together and then in a few places she had scratched though the paint to reveal the white paper underneath. when I noticed this I was so impressed and commented to her about it and showed her that if she just turned her brush upside-down and scraped though the paint using the brush end, she could get this effect even more. Others would come up to me, saying they were finished, and I would ask them to outline certain parts in black, in order to “clean up” the rough edges between colors and also to add another color to their palette.

As for the Art from Below artists group, our next meeting will involve discussion of art’s statements and figuring out when to photograph each artists work. We will print out profiles of each artist so that when we visit businesses in town, asking for them to display the artist’s work, we will be able to give them info about the artist and show examples of the artwork. It seems like a win-win situation to me- the business gets nice pictures on their walls for free and the artist gets publicity!

This week, as we prepare for the December art camp this week Moses (heading up the Inspiration Center) and I are headed 45 minutes outside the city to talk with an orphanage about hosting the camp there rather than in Mathare. This will allow for order and consistency among the kids at the art camp and will be a great opportunity for some of these kids to leave Mathare for the first time and get to be in a peaceful and rural setting for a whole week! The only roadblocks, if in fact the orphanage will open up their guest houses to us, is food and transportation. But what an exciting thing- if this works out. I will keep you posted!




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