Students turn their Jubilee Park experience into art – KERA News | Candle Made Easy

The classroom was quiet.

Some of the fourth and fifth years stared blankly at the graph paper in front of them. Others stole a glance at the kids playing four squares just outside the window at the Jubilee Park Community Center.

The children are here for the center’s summer camp. And Joshua King, the co-founder of the Dallas art group Aurora, teaches art classes.

For two days, students from different grade levels will enter the classroom. Watching them create artworks of their own revealed themes through the creative process that we can all relate to.

First for those fourth graders? Make a list of important moments in their life, and then draw schedules. Say something about every important point in your life, King asked. The birth of a younger sibling, the loss of a beloved pet.

Nobody volunteered to speak.

King and the other instructors waited a few minutes. Then they sat down at each of the student tables. As the adults descended to their level, some of the students seemed much more eager to discuss their life experiences. However, some were “too cool” to interact with the project.

We all have starting problems sometimes.

The teen class stands at the ends of their individual lines that represent a significant point in their life “change directions.”

choose a way

All of the students participated in what King calls “The Line Project,” an art exercise that asks participants to reflect on their lives and draw their own timelines. After participants have written a series of basic life experiences, they are asked to represent those moments in a web of interconnected lines. Longer lines are meant to represent more important life moments, shorter lines the more mundane.

The second group to try were the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders.

These students were more engaged with the concept early in class, and King, for his part, was more willing to elicit information from the children by calling out those who did not raise their hand.

The concept seemed to stick better with the teenagers than with the younger students. According to the artist, the purpose of the lessons was to get the students to think about groundbreaking experiences in their lives and to create a visual representation of how the course of their timeline changed as a result of certain events.

One of the teenagers, Angela, appreciated the opportunity to reflect on her experiences. Life, she said, is always “balanced between good and bad.”

She quickly finished her list and chart and focused more on the graffiti-inspired signature she drew at the bottom of the page. She follows a number of street artists on Instagram and takes inspiration from them when making her own art.

Everyone makes art at their own pace, according to their own rules.

Jubilee Learning Center, guest artist

Aaron, 8, watches as another student pulls the tape to the desired length.

Perfectly imperfect

The first and second years stormed into the classroom, still full of energy after the sport

King decided to take a different approach to this age group. He first started out in the same way, asking the class about important moments in their lives.

Every single hand in the room shot up; with every single voice the artist asked to visit her.

King began tracing the piece on the wall with bright orange tape. He involved the eager students in the process and asked them to help him break the ribbon once it was of a length satisfactory for the importance of the event.

Some students reveled in the process, giggling to their friends that the artist had to pull the tape up to his wingspan. King obeyed and stuck the comically long strands of tape to the wall.

With the ten lines on the wall in place and the group timeline complete, King asked the class to follow the model he had created to create their own timelines. Of course, most children took some artistic liberties with their pieces.

Most students drew whatever they wanted. Characters from the video game Among Us have appeared in several plays, as well as iconography from another popular game, Fortnite.

Some students preferred to draw more abstract pieces. When asked what their work was supposed to represent, everyone responded with a cheerful “I don’t know!”.

Savannah, a 7-year-old at the camp, followed the guidelines set out for her to the letter. She chose not to use the rulers laid out at each table and instead drew all of her lines freehand.

“I like to draw, I got some sketchbooks from camp,” she said. Her take on art making is simple but often forgotten as one moves further and further from childhood.

“You did it,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

It doesn’t matter how others see your art as long as you are happy with it.

Anniversary Learning Center Chalk Exercise

King and the teens recreate the line project on the lawn behind the community center.

life lesson

The teenagers returned to the classroom for the second day of art class. King wanted the students to do a land art project, a large timeline on the lawn behind the community center drawn with a wheelbarrow with chalk dust falling out of it.

King began the session by asking the teens to share some notable events from their past and some possible goals for their future.

Each student named something from one of the categories ranging from getting a first pet to wanting to go to a Cowboys game. One of the students said he wanted to go to the “universe”.

“You want to study?” asked one of the instructors. The student explained that he wanted to say Universal Studios, the theme park, to the amusement of everyone in the classroom.

After the group collected a memory or wish from each of the teenagers, the group marched outside to the grass in the park behind the building. The artist demonstrated how to use the chalk line drawer and explained that the length of each line should correspond to the importance of the thought. Then he let the kids take control.
The students were all excited to use the machine and grinned as they drew their lines.

A teenager’s memory was that his grandfather had died. They were very close. The student stoically advanced with the chalk machine and stopped at a point where he thought the line was satisfactory. His line was longer than everyone else.

“I think it’s great to introduce kids to as many different creative processes as possible because you never know what will associate with a person,” King said.

“I think kids can handle complicated conceptual ideas,” he said, “without necessarily having to alter or alter your work for younger audiences. Just speak to them as clearly and honestly as you can.”

When we make any kind of art, we draw from the key points in our lives, the challenges we’ve faced, the obstacles we’ve overcome.

Regardless of our age, we can enjoy being creative and understanding the power that art possesses.

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