One of my most favorite things about Fridays is that I get to watch the gal I teach alongside every day do one of the things that she was just made to do.
She is an artist, and she is a wonderful art teacher. And on Fridays, we need art!
We come in from recess and she has it all set up on the tables.
A new art lesson.
Last week I sat down and participated right along with the kids. (Usually I just do crowd control.)
She taught us about Jacob Lawrence.
She showed us images of some of his paintings.
Then she led us through painting a sort of quilt-like background.
Then we added figures that seem to be moving.
The kids always love Friday afternoons, because they know they are going to get to do art.
I enjoyed reading the following bit about art this week:
(found via Holy Experience)
Olivier Messiaen was 31 years old and a French composer when he was captured by the Germans in June of 1940, sent across Germany in a cattle car and imprisoned in a concentration camp.
Olivier was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper and a place to compose his music. There were three other musicians in the camp, a cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist, and Messiaen wrote a quartet with these specific players in mind. His composition was performed in January 1941 for four thousand prisoners and guards in the prison camp.
Today it is one of the most famous masterworks in the repertoire and his Quartet for the End of Time is considered one of the most profound musical compositions of all time.
Why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing music in a concentration camp? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture—why would anyone bother with music?
And yet—from the camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual art; it wasn’t just this one fanatic Messiaen; many, many people created art.
Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for life.
The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art.
Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are.
Art is one of the ways in which we say, “I am alive…”