The next Picasso may already be in our midst thanks to Family Dynamics’ Visiting Artists Program. The Visiting Artists Program is one of the after-school classes at Family Dynamics’ Beacon Center at MS 35 in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Local artists Alice Mizrachi and Mollie Roth teach middle school students about different kinds of art and art techniques, from still-life drawing to stage craft, five days a week. Recent projects have included: Grid Drawing – students used a small photo of President Obama with a grid over it to recreate a larger picture by duplicating one small square at a time, Charcoal Drawing – students covered a paper in charcoal and drew a picture of a chair by removing the charcoal from the page and Foil Sculpting – students made freestanding sculptures using only aluminum foil.
The program gives students the opportunity to unleash their creative side and have a lot of fun doing it. Most of these children had never received art instruction before, so when the class first began, many of the students lacked confidence in their artistic abilities. As time went on, however, they began to find and develop artistic talents they never realized they had. Said artist/teacher Mollie Roth, “It’s fun to share something you love with kids who are so eager to learn. Doing art helps them express themselves in new and exciting ways.”
The children agree. As student Zhane, age 13, put it: “I like to be able to express myself without being judged,” – a thought shared by many of the students. Of course, the main reason they like the class is the fun they have. Said Khaylah, age 9, “I like having fun, showing how good I do in art and getting messy.”
Proceeds from Family Dynamics’ Annual Art Auction fund the Visiting Artists Program. The auction emphasizes the importance of art to children as a creative outlet for self-expression. This year’s Art Auction will be held on May 6th.