I'm inspired to write about all the ways that art has brought joy and purpose to my life, and one thing that jumps to the front is CONNECTION. Art has literally brought about many wonderful connections in my life, and it's proof that I'm on the right track in helping to lift people up and bring joy to others' lives.
Here are some of the recent connective experiences I've had because of ART:
1. I have been hanging art in 2 local cafes for close to 10 years now. It started when I wanted to help my students realise themselves as exhibition worthy, but to also show the community the wonderful art that is coming out of my studio. I approached the owner of a cafe who happily jumped at this proposal that I hang art and regularly swap it, in his cafe, which led to me also taking care of his other cafe. He sold the first cafe on, but the new owners are even more happy to have my students' and my art hanging up there.
(The cafe shown his Mealmates Cafe at Davies Corner in Fairfield Hamilton, and the other is Impresso Cafe in Rototuna, Hamilton.)
Time and time again, I met lovely locals in the cafe (mostly older folk) as they come up to me when I'm swapping the art, and they ask about the students and marvel at their lovely, expressive drawings and paintings, hung on clip boards, in frames, or on canvas. It's really a pleasure exchanging wee chats with older people in my community that I would otherwise not have met.
The cafe workers and owners are a joy to catch up with, swap fruit with, and I love that Anne from Mealmates surprises me from time to time with a yummy free coffee too!
Sometimes I feel lazy and don't want to spend all the effort it takes to find new ways to hang art that won't be dangerous or too heavy. Sometimes I don't feel like like loading up my car and driving around Kirikiriroa Hamilton to do this. Sometimes I even lose sleep over leaving art up for too long, and not knowing what to plan next that will fit there..... But most times I go in, to be honest, I get lovely smiles from strangers, a kick out of seeing the students buzzing about it, and getting messages from grandparents who loved going to see their grand child's art and enjoyed a lovely brunch at the same time.
Connecting even with people I'll never cross paths with, but have impacted in some way, by them stopping to view the art of a child, that really does have a special, innocent feel that you can't just not notice. What a special way to connect through ART.
2. Meeting other creative business women in my area.
I've got artist friends, and art teacher friends, but it's always great to connect with people doing different fields of creative work.
I've had my photos done 4 years ago by Dannie Han of Dannie Living, and again last week by Kirsten Anderson from Anderson Design, who I met when I saw an offer she left an offer on a local business group page. It's super important for solopreneurs to connect with each other, and there ends up being soooo many relatable things to talk about! It's even got me thinking of ways to collaborate, and get her in to do photography workshops for kids, as she mentioned she's done that in the past. Very inspiring arty connection!
3. Getting involved with a school again.
It's sure been a while since I was last teaching in a primary school as a Primay Teacher, but I've been recently visiting a local school to introduce my online art lessons, and LOVING it.
I was contacted by Endeavour School Deputy Principal about connecting their students up with my online art lessons. This is for the art club with loves to create on their break time on Fridays. I have set them each up with their own access to the course, so that they can work at their own pace and BE THE BOSS OF THEIR OWN ART.
Connection is a HUGE part of my online courses! Each student can watch the videos I make in their own time, stop, start, pause, and go back when they like AND post their art right inside each lesson page, and quickly get feedback from me. These students have met me in real life which makes it even more meaningful when we use the discussion area of the course.
Already I've received feedback from a parent telling me of their child's excitement at submitting her drawings and hearing back from me. And the fact that she's logging on at home, and taking care to apply what's shown in the lesson without distractions from other kids at school, means her skills are super blossoming! This is my aim, and it's really a pleasure to connect with students and even their parents in this way!
It's been a pleasure meeting Kylee Edwards, and the students at Endeavour School, and I look forward to presenting some prizes at the end of the term. An absolutely joyful exchange, and all because of ART. ( I can't wait to share some of the children's drawing with you on my socials soon. )
4. I've not done many of my personalised paintings for kids lately, but these are seriously special keepsakes and families love to add to them. They do touch souls. All because of my joy of painting. I've been able to help families celebrate their babies and kids with my little paintings or family portraits, and it warms my heart each time I go through from the first connection point, to the last email once they receive it. Connection through ART again.
5. And last but not least: MY REGULAR STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES!!!
Aw man. These kids are kinda like family to me. My own kids have grown up somehow and time has got away on me, but I always have these amazing children coming here every day after school. Because I have only 4-6 kids per session it means I get to have great little convos with them and / or their parents and get to know their family, hear about their pets, what's important them etc etc. This connection helps me to better gauge where they're at in their art and be able to help them best. The atmosphere I've created is lovely and peaceful, so the children mention that most: that this is a place they love to come because they feel so good and calm here.
How lovely is that!? Connection is what it's all about! And art! Art connections!
6. Creative Waikato
I've been meeting with the staff from Creative Waikato and I'll be letting you know what comes out of. Here's what it says on their website, if you'd also like to connect:Creative Waikato is a non-profit organisation that’s been doing good things to help the arts, support the community, and make creative things happen since 2012.We develop, support and champion Waikato arts and culture by understanding the unique needs of our bold and ambitious creative sector. Collaborating with national and regional organisations, individuals, councils, and communities to drive positive change, opportunity, and growth in arts, culture and creativity throughout our mighty region.
Have you made special connections just because of art in your life? Tell me:
Kim's love of drawing and painting have guided her through all the tough decisions in life, and her passion to help other's know that EVERYONE'S AN ARTIST.