How would you respond if you were asked to work with 42 Kindergartners on an activity over the course of an hour?
A. "You talking to me?"
B. "I'm allergic to children under 6."
C. "Oh....thanks for asking, but I have this...um, thing...I have to do."
D. Run for the hills.
Exactly the opposite of what the incredibly talented, New Orleans Artist John Bukaty did.
A few weeks ago, I contacted Mr. Bukaty to pick his talented creative brain about integrating more art into the science, technology, math and engineering aspect of STEAM. Obviously, I'm not an artist, but I have had success reaching out to other professionals in the areas of STEM, so thought I would see what he could offer. We spent about an hour or two on the phone over the course of a few weeks. He shared great ideas, direct insight and helpful tips for ways we could weave the arts into our program more naturally, effectively at the STEAM Studio.
We talked about exposing kids to the big picture of art. Expression. Confidence. Creativity. Vision. Integrating the science and math beyond it would come. He suggested exposing them to Sacred Geometry. I was excited! Most kids love shapes, but you mention the word geometry and they quickly fade away. How cool to show them the math beyond some incredible ways to design patterns, review symmetry, and introduce hexagonal figures, toroids, fractals, and 3-D imagery in a variety of ways. Nature, all natural.
At the end of one of our conversations he said, "I would love to come help when I'm in town." Little did he know I would quickly take him up on that.
Last Friday, 42 Kindergartners buzzed into the STEAM Studio for three hours. They came in like a swarm to the STEAM Studio, all excited and ready for some action. We had four stations for them fly around to throughout their time. Originally, I had asked John to come by for about an hour. I thought he would get his fill, and more, in about that time. But, he did what most would not have done...
Came early, stayed late.
When he arrived, we set up a slide show of his paintings to give the kids some ideas and examples of what they could do. He spend time explaining his thought process when creating art and what it meant to him. After the slide show, he continued on and not in the typical presenter fashion, more like the Kindergarten fashion.
He got down on their level.
He raised their confidence by giving them ideas on how to do more.
He gave them positive feedback.
He give them hugs, high fives and chilled with them.
He modeled for them, but encouraged them to do their own thing.
He got out of their way
He showed them how to have fun.
What did they do?
They buzzed around, like busy bees do, they were humming, collecting what they needed, moving to their own beat and making their own honey...their own sweet art.
One thing I have realized since the opening of the STEAM Studio, the importance of finding the right professionals related to the areas of STEAM to share their expertise and talent. Artist John Bukaty not only shared his time and talent, he shared his heart to this swarm of Kindergartners. He planted a seed. A seed that will grow, blossom into a flower, only to attract more busy bees.
Please check out John Bukaty's one of kind art pieces and support him! Go visit his studio in New Orleans, a great reason to take a trip to the French Quarter ~ Mardi Gras is around the corner!