The one thing that makes a closed school building look lifeless and truly dead is the lack of student artwork on the walls.
For me, other than the people, the thing that's most interesting in any school is the student artwork on display.
If you've ever welcomed me into your school and wondered if I'm paying attention, don't worry. I am, I'm just also taking in the paintings and drawings and essays and woodcuts and banners that the kids in your school made.
It's no secret I love school buildings â€“ heck, I wrote a book about 'em â€“ but even those can rarely hold a candle to the creativity and passion that emanates from the children's art on the walls inside.
My kids â€“ surely, like yours â€“ love to draw and color and paint and cut paper and paste and fold and adorn. They concentrate and focus on it more deeply than on almost any other activity.
They pour it all down on the paper because no one has yet told them not to. No one has yet told them what's acceptable and what's not. No one has yet told them what's possible and what's not. Consequently, it's all possible, it's all acceptable. Art is a place to run free. And it's a place where all kids can experience satisfaction and pride.
And you can see it. Even if it's clear that the project is based on a specific assignment, it's inspiring to see the variety of students' responses to the directive.
Kids can learn a lot about other subjects, too, by making art about them. I'm reminded of the science-related paintings I saw hanging in Fernwood Montessori recently.
There's a lot we can learn from kids' approach to art.
My child's teacher says he draws too much. I understand her point and I know what she means, but I often wonder if that's really possible. Some of us work things out through words, others through math. Still others make sense of the world through art.
Look around your school. I sure hope there's art everywhere. Send me photos.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published March 27, 2015
Milwaukee's Chalice in the Palace breathes some life into the city's wanting reggae music scene with regular record spins featuring a wide variety of Jamaican sounds at area clubs.
Published March 26, 2015
I was a little disappointed the first time I stepped into Henry Koch's 1870 Calvary Presbyterian Church - that soaring red building on 10th and Wisconsin. The sanctuary has been completed remodeled and modernized. The pews are gone, replaced by stacks of movable chairs. The wooden chancel isn't ornately adorned as one might expect in a 150-year-old church, and the new hardwood floors gleam rather than creak with accumulated history. But, then, Pastor Mark McDonough converted me.
Published March 25, 2015
In all of the discussions of the siting of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, the discussion has been about connecting to Wisconsin Avenue and points south of the current Bradley Center. But, let's not ignore the other side.
Published March 25, 2015
In recent years, Milwaukee Public Library has been building for the future, replacing aged branches with mixed-use developments that ensure the libraries will be community fixtures for years to come. For its next project, MPL is moving the Forest Home branch into the future by reviving an old South Side neighborhood gem.
Published March 20, 2015
Scattered around the Milwaukee area are roughly two dozen eye-catching stone cottages that look like they could've been moved from Normandy. But, you might be surprised to learn they were designed by a New York architect who also designed the Big Apple's Singer Building, a 47-story skyscraper that was, for three years, the tallest building in the world.
Published March 18, 2015
Old newspaper ads for Milwaukee clubs open a world of unwritten history.
Published March 18, 2015
Dosing its rootsy rock and roll with a shot of country and etheral, melodic pop Milwaukee's Great Lake Drifters have created a sound that is difficult to pin down. With a brand new CD, " Radio Picture Show," the band takes part in this weekend's Equinox Music Festival at Linneman's in Riverwest. We chatted with a couple of the band's members about GLD, about "Radio Picture Show" and about Equinox.
Published March 17, 2015
Nine unforgettable places to rent some shoes in Brew City.
Published March 16, 2015
Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver is one of nearly a dozen leaders of urban school districts headed to the White House this morning to meet with President Barack Obama as part of the Council of the Great City Schools' three-day annual legislative/policy conference in Washington.
Published March 13, 2015
Writing these past two weeks about disappeared Milwaukee rock clubs and Downtown in the 1980s has me a little bleary eyed with nostalgia. And my Milwaukee reminiscences almost always lead straight back to one building in Walker's Point.