As I sit here on a Snow Day in Roswell, Georgia, I can see HUGE snowflakes outside through my dining room window. These big fat snowflakes remind me of the white circles that children often draw in their art when they fill the backgrounds of a snowy scene. This snowfall isn’t exactly composed of big dots falling from the sky, but the white stuff falling now is certainly some of the biggest, fluffiest snow I’ve ever seen! What a great day to stay inside and write for NAEA.
In honor of March-Youth Art Month 2015, let’s talk about art advocacy and how we celebrate children’s art and art education across our nation. I recently attended our Capitol Art Exhibit reception in Atlanta with my two student artists and their families. We met with our state legislators, Representative Jan Jones and Senator John Albers. As the kick-off event for Youth Art Month in Georgia, the Capitol Art Exhibit reception is one of my favorite events all year because I love the way the state legislators honor our students and their art. They take time to talk to each student about his/her artwork, and they make the children feel special. Years ago, I was the chairperson of this exhibit, and I know how much work goes into pulling off Georgia’s largest student art exhibit and reception. Big thanks go to our state chairs, Sondra Palmer and Florence Barnett. Year and year, the Georgia Art Education Association receives positive feedback from the state employees and various attendees who view the art. One viewer summed it up: “Your exhibit spotlights the necessity of maintaining arts education in the school curriculum."
I am currently thinking about new ways to celebrate YAM in my local school community. Social media, the good old-fashioned newspaper, and school media are great vehicles for advertising our programs and highlighting student learning in visual arts. In so many ways, I believe that getting children’s art up on the walls is a huge part of advocacy. As the old saying goes….a picture is worth a thousand words! How do you celebrate YAM?