Quality Matters: Embracing Quality Art Experiences
The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be
their motivations and the richer their experiences.
— Loris Malaguzzi
Kids’ Country proudly embraces the importance of the quality art experience highlighted in a study commissioned by the Wallace Foundation called Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs. Anyone who has attended one of our Enrichment classes or Specialty Camps taught by our Resident Artists can confirm that.
But there are less celebrated spaces in each one of our after school programs. Varying in shape and size, these spaces are created with a singular purpose: to provide a quality art experience for youth. Quality art experiences foster creativity, encourage self-expression, build confidence, develop technical skill, and provide opportunity for collaboration and independent exploration.
Our art spaces communicate high regard for children’s creativity. It’s not enough to say: “Your work is important.” That needs to be demonstrated. Kids’ Country would add an 11th principle to the study: The quality of the materials provided should reflect the value of the work.
When children are provided with inferior art materials, the end result can be muddy-colored paintings flaking off thin paper that tears easily. This does not say: “I think your work is important.”
We believe quality art materials provide a quality experience – and definitely a quality product. So, for example, when we equipped the new art area in our DREAMZ room at Green Valley, we skipped past the Dollar Store and Discount School Supply and headed to Blick Art Materials, where we carefully selected the best paint brushes, paint, markers and watercolor paper to enhance children’s art work. These superior materials inspire children to work more carefully and slowly. They also convey our confidence in their ability to take proper care of those materials.
Kids’ Country believes art is an essential component of education and a catalyst for creativity, self-expression, and innovation. This is reflected in our commitment to STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art and math. We demonstrate this commitment every day through our dedicated art spaces in each of our 15 sites where children are making splendid works of art.