When I started bringing my five-year-old daughter, to Kathy Anderson’s School for Young Artists about five weeks ago she needed some time to adjust to being without me, so I stayed in the studio during the art classes. I was able to watch Kathy do her wonderful work. I have learned so much from my time with her.
The projects and materials themselves are great, as is the studio environment. The choices and richness of materials available would make any artist’s heart beat a little faster. But what she does with the children is far beyond the art itself.
Kathy assists and guides the children’s imagination in making whatever they can conceive of making. Sometimes children are inspired by the many artistic choices presented to them, but most of the time they are inspired by their own inner voices.
At the School for Young Artists, children can really hear their own precious inner voices speak. Kathy has an extraordinary ability to listen to children and to feel what is going on inside them on deep levels. A great deal of trust is present, and the children are honored as full human beings. There is no right or wrong way to create in Kathy’s studio — there are only choices about how to proceed. For a child who might be having trouble hearing his or her inner voice, these classes would help that voice come out.
Kathy truly listens to all her students. She stays connected to every child in her studio, even when she works with one student at a time. A sense of fascination and wonder permeates the class. Kathy is interested in the students and their work, and the students follow suit– taking an interest in what is going on around them, not just in their own projects.
When conflict arises, or if someone forgets to follow the simple guidelines of the studio, the situation is handled with the utmost grace. Children understand that they may have made a mistake, but they are never shamed for doing so. In these classes, it is safe to be imperfect, so the children can learn from their mistakes.
Kathy Anderson and the School for Young Artists is such an asset to our community. Children who study with Kathy will have seeds of creativity planted in them that will continue to sprout for the rest of their lives.
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