Saturday, September 26, 2009

Classroom On A Bus????

You can learn something important from everyone you meet. It doesn’t matter if that person is a window washer, mechanic, farmer… or bus driver! I’m hoping that the children that ride my bus walk away with a little bit of knowledge about art – how to use different mediums and instruments to create their art, how to compose a design layout, how to gain knowledge about the subject that you are creating art about and most importantly… how to gain confidence to realize that it is the ‘effort’ and not necessarily the ‘result’ that counts. I’ve never created a peace of art that is perfect – every single creation has had mistakes. It is our effort to express ourselves in positive ways that will enable us all to grow.


Two weeks ago, I asked the students that ride my bus to create ‘peace-art’ for The Peace Bus. Since then, I’ve been totally overwhelmed with their enthusiasm and their marvelously colourful art creations…

I must have sounded like the teacher from a Charlie Brown cartoon to some of the younger children. I think that what they heard me say must have sounded like, “Whoh whoh whoh whoh decorations whoh whoh whoh whoh art whoh whoh whoh whoh colourful.” Their art did not have any peace symbols… but it sure is colourful and full of peaceful inspiration…


I still have to add the student’s name to the following artworks – before I print them off and prepare them to decorate my bus, but I’ll share the images with you anyway…


It doesn’t bother me that some of the peace symbols are drawn improperly – what counts is the effort of expression that the children are putting forth. The young artists love it when I use their art as a teaching tool. Whenever I hold up one of their drawing I can hear the artist whisper to their friend, “Hey! That’s my drawing!” and I’ll look to see a big smile on their face as they listen intently to what I have to praise about their work.

Instead of holding up a drawing that doesn’t have the correct peace symbol and saying, “Okay – this is how we don’t draw a peace symbol” I will hold up another drawing and say, “Just a small reminder for all you artist to remember that this is the correct way to draw your peace symbols. Let’s also remember to fill the entire drawing area with colour. We don’t want a picture of a peace symbol on a page with nothing else around it – leaving lots of blank space. That’s boring. What’s exciting is seeing a peace symbol surrounded by other things… like other peace symbols, hearts, trees, flowers, birds, planets and stars… that sort of thing.” I’ll see their heads nodding and I’ll know that my twenty second speech communicated to them the same lessons that could take an entire class to learn.

It may have taken me the last three hours to scan their images and add borders and names and to write this blog – on my Saturday off (LOL – never any rest for an artist!!!), but it will be worth it when the students get on the bus on Monday morning to see that I’ve added fourteen more drawings to the ceiling of The Peace Bus!!! They will be so excited and proud of themselves… as they should be!

Jim

3 comments:

Cerob said...

Jim: This is so inspirational: I would like to ride the peace bus, myself. I like how you turn a potentially negative vibe (not getting the grant this year) and turn it into something much bigger and better. This is showing kids that no matter what kind of job we do we are all sharing this planet, and can contribute this message of positivity. I think it would be totally cool if the bus could be transformed on the outside also!!
I bet the kids would love to ride it in say: the santa parade here.
Keep up the peacework brother, and happy driving'
Cheri

brendabendy said...

This was such an awesome and inspirational story. You are truely a great mentor for these children driving the message of peace home....

lochnessy said...

What a wonderful person you are Jim. God Bless You and your work- you truly have a higher purpose in this world.
Keep up the good work!
Ness