What I try to do with Daily Dose: Inspired is let you in on something that’s recently inspired me, or invite you to converse about some little bit of creative insight rolling around in my mind, or shed a light on some sort of awesome in the world. I can’t always guarantee the Daily Dose will be relevant to you, but it’s my hope that you find it interesting.
Last week, you may recall I wrote about local school program called South Bay Hands on Art, created to ensure all kids are exposed to art and art history at least six times a year. I talked about the program’s intent to invite kids to explore without judgement. If you haven’t read it yet, once you finish this, it’s worth a read! The philosophy totally transformed how I see the childhood school art experience.
Anyhow, apparently, I’m on a real kids’ art kick at the moment!
This weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending a children’s art show… not at a school, but at a local art gallery called ShockBoxx. This place is awesome… it’s in the Hermosa Beach Industrial District, which is gradually transforming into an Arts and Industrial District, and the brainchild of artists Mike Collins and Laura Schuler, managed by Astrid Parker.
They had the idea to open the gallery space up to KIDS for the month of May. One weekend for tots through 8th grade, followed by a full week (spanning two weekends) for high school students. How cool is that?! They named the younger show “Cool School” and the older show “Recess.”
As the mother of two creative kids (one an aspiring teacher, and the other bouncing back and forth between aspiring artist and aspiring athlete), I was super excited! The minute I saw the call for applications, I asked my girls if they might like to participate, and they set to work creating something special just for the show.
They set to work, sketching and planning, then drawing and coloring their art. One did a very intricate version of a unicorn, with all sorts of hidden affirmations and positive words like, “Find the Magic,” and “Believe,” while the other made colored pencil drawing a cat rocking in a chair on a front porch, working on perspective and depth. When they were finished, they let me know how they wanted to price their pieces, and we sent it in.
Once their artwork was accepted (so! much! jumping! ensued!), we got instructions to drop it off, and an invite to the weekend show.
The show brought together featured kids and their families, as well as several guests from the neighborhood and fans of the art gallery. There was a photographer, and there was a table full of candy for everyone, and coolers with beer for the grownups and Capri-Sun for the kids. Overall, it was a really special event and a ton of fun to see what these kids came up with.
If you look closely at the photos below, you’ll see a fair amount of humor and fun.
One of my favorite pieces at the event was a chair sculpture, completely covered in buttons and stickers and random things poking up, aptly titled, “Sit! If You Dare…” I don’t seem to have captured a photo of it, but you can see a pic on the ShockBoxx Instagram account. There were also some great comics, and really funny collage mashups that completely turn the grownup collage scene I usually see on its head. (You know, the aspirational vision boards, or color and texture combos, or scrapbooks.)
And then there were beautiful paintings of nature and animals, and photography capturing the essence of Southern California—palm trees and a Mickey Mouse Ferris Wheel.
All told, it was a fun look into the childhood experience, and what matters to kids. It was refreshing in both its complexity and its simplicity. And it was an INCREDIBLE experience for all of those kids, invited for a weekend into the world of art galleries and the professional scene.
If you run a gallery, or happen to know someone who runs a gallery, I can’t recommend doing something like this enough. I’m sure it was a ton of work for the Mike and Laura and Astrid, but they just made fans for life. These kids will never forget the experience they had, and it will carry them forward with an extra bit of confidence as they pursue what’s to come.
A few photos of my jubilant young artists, and some of the walls in the show follow:
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“Kid Art at ShockBoxx: Humor, Insight, Fun” was posted as part of the Daily Dose: Inspired series.
Daily Dose: Inspired… Looking for a small something to get you inspired to take on the day? This is the place to come for a photo, a song, a pick-me-up quote, a little slice of happy. At least, these are the things that inspire me!