Friday, June 22, 2012

Learned It

I've got a great group of artists that I meet with once a week here.  Under the handle "Art Beans" we make art, set up gallery shows, and publish magazines.  One of the most rewarding things however has been teaching children.  We found a way to teach Korean kids art, in English, every month or so.  We wanted to do this for a few reasons:  to give back to a Korea that has been so accommodating and so patient, and also to try and stir some creativity in the children.  When I first got here I found it so refreshing to find art supplies virtually can get a sketchbook and paint brushes at most of the convenient stores.  However, what's been really difficult is the lack of creativity in art here.  It's a skill focused medium in Korea, and for children that are so used to studying for tests and getting the "right" answer every time, it's difficult for them to think outside of the box.  I don't want to be misunderstood here; art is very much a part of school and society here, sometimes more so than at home, but if one chooses to be an artist there is a very distinct path they must walk down.  We wanted to give the kids a chance to do their own thing.

We've taught 4 of these now.  Mask making, shadow puppets, foam stamps, and abstract wax crayon art.  It's loads of fun.  The classes are held in the "culture center" in the Hyundai Department Store (yes, each Department store has an art center that offers yoga, cooking classes, and art classes here.  Can you imagine a Sears having a culture center?).

To teach this, we met Hyundai in the middle.  They wanted an English class, we wanted an Art class.  We agreed to teach art in english.  The parents are happy, the kids are happy, and the teachers are happy.

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