Thinking Outside The Box: An Urban Art Center Motto

outsidetheboxImagine a place that inspires kids to dream and create, and then show the world what they discovered. The Urban Art Center is that place. Kids have materials and guidance at their disposal to do something to express their thoughts and feelings in an acceptable way.

Many kids choose to demonstrate their wish for world peace, love among all people and an end to violence of all kinds. What emerges may be a family portrait, a self portrait or one of a dear friend. There may also be paintings, drawings or sculptures of a favorite place or a place yet to be made real.

Pets usually appear in some form from the work of more than one child. Sometimes they are depictions of pets that have never appeared but are badly wanted. They are certainly representations of love.

How We Connect

Mobiles, pastels, computer drawings and popsicle stick architecture show up in various age groups of young artists. Kids need time, space and materials to figure out what exactly they want to do at the time, just like adult artists. If they can explore with different types of materials, including texts to go with visuals, they can say what they want to say.

If adults are smart, they will listen to what kids are saying through art. It may help kids to follow a healthy road and not descend into despair and destructive behavior now and in the future. Art is not just for fun, but that brings the kids in to the Urban Art Center in the beginning.

After kids see what they can do, they may never want to leave. Kids with an artistic bent, who never knew they had one, become the picture of “perfect attendance.” Other kids get to see what creativity is, what it means and that it’s all right. It may even be a launching pad for a future career in any field.

The UAC Way

kid-drawingThinking outside the box worked out well for Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein. It is valuable in every aspect of life, and if it starts at the art center, those kids have an edge. They learn that what they do matters, and that there are adults who respect them and their ideas.

Peer respect is another positive side effect of creating art. Kids see that there are other means of success outside of sports and pure academics. There is nothing wrong with those pathways, but not all kids shine in those areas. If an artistic path helps them find their niche, all the better. It may help them realize that art is not what they want: also positive.

In real time, a sticks-and-mortar place like the Urban Art Center provides a safe place for kids to go when they’re not in school. They don’t have to be young Michaelangelos to enjoy creating art; they just have to want to be there. Spending time at this center is certainly preferable to running the streets, ending up in trouble for one reason or another.

Do urban kids know about famous artists and the history of art? The Urban Art Center is an educator in this field. Kids can go to local art museums to see real works of art created by masters from ancient times to the present. Field trips sometimes work wonders, and kids should have the opportunity to learn about this part of their own society. Kids should know they are part of their own society.

Is an Urban Art Center essential? Many people who know kids think it is. Parents, youth leaders and kids say yes. It might be wonderful.

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