The Suitcase Lady


March 13, 2012, 10:45 pm

March has roared in and with it the annual month long celebration of Youth Art Month, a.k.a. YAM. Delightful exhibits of children’s art have sprung up in libraries, art museums, stores and businesses all across America.

Anyone who is in need of a spring tonic can simply head to the nearest show. Children’s art can be summed up in one word, joyful.

For those of us who teach the arts, this year’s event is poignant. Education in all the arts is under attack throughout America. Our children’s art and music teachers are being fired in record numbers as programs in all the arts are the first to fall when budgets are being slashed. In addition, an alarming number of Americans are gleeful to see their schools gutted and teachers vilified.

It is not hyperbole to say that a great nation must have great schools. Leaders are thinkers, and schools must do more than cram kids’ brains with test answers. Arts educators motivate our children to be creative thinkers, astute observers, problem solvers and innovators.

How sad that the richest nation in the world is denying so many children any education in the arts.

And don’t be fooled. Art events and one time special classes for a few kids that are sponsored by corporations or rich individuals don’t ever take the place of art and music teachers in our schools every week, year round.

The time has come to speak up and demand a quality, all inclusive education for all of America’s children, not just the wealthy, lucky and privileged.

Click here for a short and exuberantly happy tour of children’s art. The first three pictures, the folk art Tree of Life, a Renoir and a Delaunay were inspiration for my students. (And, yes, I seem to be a bit catcentric in my choice of subject matter this year.)


6 Comments for this entry

  • Claudia

    I could not agree more. My three wildly successful children attended public magnet schools in Milwaukee with a focus on the arts. Science curriculum…not so good. Math…so-so. Don’t get me wrong, I wish the teaching in these core subjects had been stronger. But the arts pulled them through and with their ability to think creatively they are making the world a better place.

  • liz levins

    loved the student art show!

  • evie

    Mary–Absolutely delightful! They really took to the Delaunay, didn’t they??? thanks for sharing–evie

  • Audrey

    We have the same passion for the arts…and I love you for it! Can’t believe you’ve been blogging for 6 years! I love reading them and makes me wish we lived closer so I could see you.

  • julilly k

    I inadvertently broke one of my treasures last month: a surf-boarding turtle with feathered hat made by younger daughter Issa, while under your tutelage at Children’s Workshop. What an Eden you created there. xxxxxxx