Abrakadoodle artists featured at the new art studio opening
Art is impactful and worthy of investment. This was a message that resonated during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Allen Academy in Detroit, which on Monday, January 14th formally opened a spacious, newly renovated space that will be devoted to Abrakadoodle’s art program. According to Dawna Kelly, Director of Abrakadoodle-Wayne County, “We are honored by the Allen Academy’s commitment to the visual arts. They have been one of our customers (more like family members) for the past five years, and we have been providing our art program for students through grade six in a very small space with no water supply.” The new art studio features 24 workstations, two sinks and a space for a kiln to be purchased later this year.
During the formal dedication ceremony, Allen Academy school leader Monique Woodland Phillips was joined by several board members to include Barbara Barrett, Regional Vice President of the charter management group. Isaiah Pettway provided remarks regarding the importance of the fine arts, and Trena Braswell offered comments recognizing the student artwork on display at the event.
The Allen Academy is situated in a former Catholic school, and the art studio space was the former rectory. A priest who lived and worked at the rectory returned to share a heartfelt message about the importance of art education for our society. He talked about a recent visit to a nursing home in which seniors with various levels of impairment would still tap their feet when they heard music or smile at the sight of children’s artwork.
Today Abrakadoodle joins millions in celebrating Lights On Afterschool, a campaign of the Afterschool Alliance, which recognizes the importance of providing safe, strong afterschool options for children nationwide. In a recent interview on Education Nation, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said “Not just safe but learning” when speaking about children’s experiences in afterschool programs. We applaud this thinking and the notion of providing children with brain-boosting opportunities that extend classroom learning. Abrakadoodle’s after school programs combine strong arts education with increasingly valuable creativity development, which engages children in hands on learning that emphasizes problem solving, originality and imaginative
Gains are beyond measure when children develop a sense of confidence and craftsmanship in the process of creating art. Art is such a powerful communication tool, and children in our program learn to appreciate the unique voice that each of them brings to his or her own creative endeavor. Consider enrolling your child in art afterschool to inspire your child’s imaginative skill building!
Abrakadoodle students develop important creativity skills!
Abrakadoodle conducted research during the 2011-2012 school year to determine if students exhibited gains when participating in the Abrakadoodle Art Education Program. Abrakadoodle provides a total art curriculum, art instruction conducted by an Abrakadoodle trained teacher and art materials at charter schools and private schools around the country. Students who were new to the Abrakadoodle program were tested in the fall and then again after participating in the Abrakadoodle program for seven months. The Educational Resource Group administered the Torrance® Tests of Creative Thinking. Fifty-two (52) second and fifth grade students from diverse backgrounds took part.
Overall grade scores for the entire group increased by 7 percentage points, as the scores related to the national averages. Most dramatic results were apparent among the fifth grade students, who had scored significantly below the national averages in the pretest. In addition to the Abrakadoodle Art in Our World Curriculum and Education Program, fifth graders had participated in Abrakadoodle’s Creativity Boost™ Exercises.
The highly reliable Torrance® Tests of Creative Thinking TTCT are the most widely used tests of their kind. Students in this study participated in the Figural TTCT Forms A and B: Thinking Creatively with Pictures, which includes exercises to assess five characteristics related to creative thinking. Scoring was based upon grade-related norms. The TTCT is most widely used to determine eligibility for talented and gifted programs. Normative data has been gathered from more than 55,000 students in the US and Canada. The test has been offered in more than 35 countries.
According to Mary C. Rogers, MA.ED, CEO and Co-founder of Abrakadoodle, “We know that student creative abilities decrease as they move through the grades. We are encouraged by preliminary results that may indicate that students who participate in Abrakadoodle’s quality art education programs can slow and even reverse that trend. We anticipate conducting further research to more fully assess the effects of our program on student creativity. Part of what makes our art education program unique is our devotion to creativity skills development, which is an important component of our Art in Our World Curriculum and Education Program.”
What if we never came to know Georgia O’Keefe, with her vividly enchanting, bigger-than-life nature paintings? The world would have missed out on her giant, colorful flowers and the emotion captured in her desert landscapes. Hers is a cautionary tale for those who over-direct, restrict or push children to imitate the ideas and art forms of others. Georgia O’Keefe is one of the most famous American female painters, and she revolutionized modern art. She had to overcome the need to satisfy someone else’s idea of how her art should look in order to fully develop her potential. Early in her career, O’Keefe became discouraged and decided to destroy her work because she felt that each piece was created to satisfy someone else’s ideals. Ultimately, Georgia’s own design sensibilities won out, and her paintings won the hearts of viewers everywhere.
Are your children passionate about nature? Encourage creative expression by sending your children outdoors with a large tablet, pencils, markers and/or paints (Crayola® has a whole line of “Outdoor” products!) and suggest that they explore nature in search of something special to them. Prompt them by asking, “What do you see that looks interesting to you?” Send them on a nature treasure hunt. Use that flower, tree, insect, animal or plant as an object of inspiration to create their unique works of art. Ask them how this living part of nature makes them feel and to use this feeling when they create their artwork. Perhaps they are attracted to the changing colors of the sunset and wish to paint a watercolor capturing the scene. You should remind them that they do not need to make their art in any particular size, shape or color. Let them react to their setting in a way that works best for them, and remember that the process is as important as the finished product!
We’re not “lion” when we say that CD’s are not biodegradable. According to the CD Recycling Center of America, “Each year, billions of CDs and DVDs are manufactured, while millions of these discs end up in landfills and incinerators.” Equally disturbing, these plastic-based products emit toxins when burned. Recycling can help stop pollution, prevent health hazards, slow global warming and conserve natural resources. In addition to sending away your CDs to recycling centers, you have another option: transforming your CDs into art.
Go to Abrakadoodle’s website to discover an array of fun projects you can do at home: