Growing Artists At Home- The Dieden Family
Growing Artists at Home
We meet the most incredible families. When a student finds our space and melts right into it we kind of know that a “grow artists” philosophy like our own is at play in that student’s life. When a family welcomes us into their lives by sharing a good amount of their child’s time with us we get the bonus of learning more about the family and what makes them and their child so special. That gave me an idea-- what if we could see into the home that nurtures that family? Our new feature, Growing Artists at Home was born.“To provide a healthy, inclusive and non-judgmental space in which creative capacity is discovered and confidence is developed”-- this is the first sentence in our mission statement. Kids start out this way-- creative and curious. We all start out this way. It’s our job, all of our jobs, to help them stay this way. We intentionally design experiences that allow students to confidently and curiously follow their own muse. How do other families do it?
The Dieden Family
Meet the Dieden family. One of their three daughters, A, is a graduate of our Young Entrepreneurs Society program and together we are developing some very special programming for families and children with Juvenile Diabetes. We may be as big a fan of A as she tells us she is of us.What does the term "grow artists" mean to you?“Grow Artists” reflects my desire to continually create an environment, inside and outside the home, that fosters creativity, self expression and a love of the arts.Why is supporting your child's creative curiosity important to you? I really believe that honoring your creative self promotes compassion, self-introspection and confidence, even at early ages. It is so easy for children to become self critical of their artistic abilities. Somewhere curbing a child’s creativity often is viewed as being in the service of their “growing up” and “maturing”. We could not disagree more.How does your family nurture creativity for your child at home?We make the arts a priority in our family. We consider music, theater, painting, pottery, just as important as any of our other family values. We don’t see the arts as extra-curricular, but rather an everyday occurrence. All forms of artistic expression are valuable and tell a story and by participating or observing that art, it becomes a part of you. For example, one of our daughters has a new appreciation and cultural understanding for graffiti art after seeing “This is Modern Art” at Steppenwolf. The student performance offered the kids an opportunity to discuss art vs. vandalism with the director, playwright and actors. I’m always amazed (and I shouldn’t be) at how insightful and thoughtful kids are when discussing art.Chicago offers an unbelievable number of opportunities to foster a deep love and understanding of the arts. Also, it’s important to us to model and encourage the girls’ exposure to the arts. We try to have materials available. We go to the thrift stores to find good fabric, decorative plates, sales on supplies. The creativity can come in so many different forms from doodling, coloring in a coloring book, sewing patches on a Girl Scout uniform, cake decorating.What is your favorite creative space at home? We’ve decided to dedicate an entire room for art projects. All of the girls’ art materials are easy to get to and clear to see on shelves. When space is an issue, we’ll put away less used supplies for awhile and re-introduce them later. Rotating art supplies is a good way to stimulate creativity. Right now, creating polymer clay miniatures and sketching are popular with the girls. My children love the ability to leave an unfinished project and be able to come back to it. They don’t have to clean up immediately. It gives them a chance to challenge themselves with bigger projects.How creative do you feel as parents? Do parents need to work in a creative field in order to create a creative home environment? Sometimes we are really creative and sometimes not creative at all! I don’t think they need to work in a creative environment but it certainly helps. We all have access to the arts, work and school are not the only places in life that bring art into our lives.Where in Chicago do you and your family find creative inspiration? We love the students’ shows at the Lyric Opera; if your school doesn’t participate, the Lyric makes it easy to take a day off once a year to see a show. They are beautiful, engaging and very inexpensive. Sketching in and around The Art Institute and the Shedd is a big thing with my kids right now. We try to carry a sketch pad and supplies everywhere we go. We’re fortunate to have friends that are plugged into the Chicago theater community. There is an unbelievable amount of inexpensive theater productions available for kids and young adults. My kids will often grab my phone for a quick shot, if something catches their eye. These images often show up later in drawings or comics.What is one thing any family can do to encourage curious exploration?Choose a family artistic adventure each month and bring along travel-size art supplies (e.g. doodle while listening to music or sketch by the lakefront). Chicago offers so many free events. Check out www.cityofchicago.orgIn which of your child’s creations does she have the most pride?A developed (with her Dad’s help) an online shop* DreamySmallStuff.com that showcases and sells her handmade polymer clay jewelry. (*This is the same amazing product that A developed and then sold through our Young Entrepreneurs Society (YES!) program. Tweens and teens interested in our summer YES! program focused on services should contact Candice.)It sounds like this family has really figured out how to choose their own creative adventure using the resources that abound in Chicago and we are honored to have become a part of this rich education. Thank you to the Dieden family for sharing your thoughts and ideas.Do you have a home that grows artists and want to share? How do you support your child’s creative curiosity? We would love to hear from you.------------------------------------------------------------------Our next Progressive Playdate, for tweens, is being scheduled for September. Make sure to follow @playdateproject on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest! To stay in touch with Wishcraft Workshop and its adult programs, The Makers Spot, find us on your favorite social media platform (we're EVERYWHERE) and join our mailing list (where the top secret scoop is often sent first!)Make a wish. Make something. Make something together.