Angelo joined our Summer Camp program last year midway through the summer. His mother was looking for a fun and creative childcare option for her son, days after moving to Greensboro from Chicago. I encountered Angelo briefly in the park one day when I noticed that he had an exploded apple sauce packet in his lunch box.
A few weeks later, I was lucky enough to teach an afternoon camp for ages 5-7 with Angelo as a student. I was immediately stricken by his enthusiasm and bright intelligence. Angelo was really sweet and trusting. He wrote me a note at the end of that first afternoon. When I first glanced at the note, I was amazed that a kindergartener could write so legibly and with no spelling errors. On the front the note read, "I am having lots of fun today I loved everything." Then there was text on the bottom to flip the page. The back said "But I didn't make friends" followed by three drawn sad faces.
At first I found this really disheartening. Then I remembered that Angelo was new to town and had only been in class one day. The following days, I made a point to encourage more group games and projects. Angelo made friends in no time. If it weren't for the fact that he felt comfortable making and drawing a note, I may have never known how important making friends was to him.
There are a large amount of individuals that may say that they "don't understand art" or "aren't creative," but if you think back to your own childhood most of us drew before we were able to write. Even after a few grades in elementary school, our writing was always complimented by an illustration. Visual communication was the most promising option when spelling or vocabulary were obstacles. It empowered us to express ourselves, share our feelings, and understand our surroundings. We are all born artists, and our goal at the Center for Visual Artists is to invite individuals to continue to push their own creative instinct, from ages 3 to 103.
Sidney StretzEducation CoordinatorCenter for Visual Artists