Sunday, October 10, 2004

For Love and Money

Here Is an update on the poster contest that was held at Case Western Reserve University for the Vice Presidential debate this past week: (Remember the post 'Keeping Expectations High', where I described my frustration with the quality of the work my student were producing?)

Maximo Martinez a 12th grader at Max Hayes won a third place award in the high school division. His work was picked by the RTA to be reproduced and displayed on the outside of buses throughout the city of Cleveland. I am very proud of him.

Max is one of a group of boys here at school who I've half-jokingly dubbed "The Sons I Never Wanted"
These are the kids who always seem to be in the art studio.
They skip lunch to come up to the art room, spend their study halls here, and get passes to my room from other class teachers. Some of them took my class a couple of years ago, but still hang around even though they have no art course on their schedule this semester.
Let me correct myself...'hanging around' isn't allowed. If they are going to be in the studio they must be making art.

Some of the school's best artwork comes from the kids who are not taking an Art class. They like the vibe of the space and their motivation to work is the threat of being kicked out for not working.
I don't allow them to "work on an idea" That, too often, can be an excuse for fooling around and doing nothing. The idea has to exist before they walk in the door.
In the studio, they must be producing.

These are usually the kids I can get to participate in contests. Since they aren't taking the course, they don't need to follow the curriculum.
They like to compete for cash, and so I post all the calls for entries outside the door to the art studio.
Max won a fifty dollar savings bond for his winning entry.

One of the life lessons I talk to my students about is choosing a career.
"Find the thing you love to do, and discover how to make it pay." is a phrase I repeat to the point of redundancy. Each time one of the kids in my class wins a contest, or gets a paid commission for artwork, I point to the entrepreneurial opportunities made available by their creative efforts.

Occasionally one of my students will ask me,
"So if you love art, why aren't you working as an artist?"

To which I respond,"There was something I loved even more.
You see, I grew up with brothers. As a young girl I discovered that I really loved to pick on boys, make fun of them, and boss them around. Eventually I became really good at it, and now I get paid for it. Working here at Max Hayes is truly the perfect job."

...And they think I'm just kidding.

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