I Too Am An Artist: How An Hour In a Grade School Class Changed How I Feel About Art

It is astonishing how frightening a class of grade school children can be.  Especially when you are late, and rushing in which I was.  I had been thinking all weekend about the cool things I was going to say and how I was going to display my work.  I was formulating wise words and smart take aways for the class.  Then I woke up in a funk and had a weird commute, went to the wrong building and was late.  By the time I got to the class any sense of control I might have had over the upcoming conversation was lost.   Yet, as adults do, I was still trying to hold onto control when I introduced myself.  I segued into class participation by asking if anyone knew what abstract art was. (I had just written down the definition myself because heavens knows if I had the answer myself)  One of the tiny hands shot in the air.  Upon being called on the young girl says 



She’d done it.  The tiny little stranger had looked inside my soul and found the words I never could.  This was the perfect explanation of something that has been my problem my whole life.  I have a whole lot of feelings going on inside and yet seem completely incapable of adequately expressing myself.  It was not until I was almost thirty and I started painting that I finally found a way to express all that I had going on inside. For me I felt like I was suddenly speaking a language people could understand.

That tiny girl had hijacked the conversation in a way that I never expected.  She had so clearly reflected back to me what I was feeling that she took control and opened up a whole new conversation.  And we had it, as a class.  We talked about what it was like being an artist.  How I came to be an artist and what my days are like as an artist.  We talked about art in a way I have always wanted to. Heart centered and honest. They shared fears of sharing their art and when I asked if anyone was an artist timidly raised their hands.  In that moment I too felt my own grade school self timidly raise my hand and say yes, I too am an artist.