Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Angie's Art School

For anyone who lives near or in Calgary, listen up!

painted by Marcel, Age 2

I am so excited about this! My friend and talented artist Angela Rout is setting up an art school. Angie was the coolest person I knew growing up. She studied art, moved to northern Canada, and then came back to study architecture (I’m simplifying here, of course). Now she’s got two little kids and is starting up an art school in her home in NE Calgary. But this is no ordinary art school, Angela Rout has a vision. Art isn’t just about learning how to manipulate materials, it’s about taking an idea and doing something with it. Young children learn about expressing their ideas and older ones get into creativity and problem solving. Now, I find this especially exciting for the children who are often taken for granted as waiting to grow up. What a great gift it would be to treat their ideas as worth exploring. Materials and processes are secondary. But materials are telling – Children won’t be bringing home construction paper cut-outs to hang on the fridge and then discard, they’ll use real materials and make something to keep in the home forever. Because their ideas are worth keeping.

Now, for the adults Angela does a little reverse engineering – she teaches them to use materials first and then gets into exploring ideas. She says we have lost the ability to access instinctual creativity so we start with materials and work back to creativity. Perfect for anyone who’s looking to put a little depth into their art or someone who enjoys messing around but doesn’t consider themselves creative or someone who’s stuck in a rut. I could go on and on.

The program that I am most excited about (because I’m most likely to be able to do this) is her toddler art workshop. It’s not on her website but she emailed me about it. As I understand it (I don’t have the email here to refer back to) You mix the paint and your child paints the masterpiece. Angela helps you mix colors based on your home and gives the child some direction on painting. You end up with something that you created together – with a little professional help to make sure it all works out. Wouldn’t that be a great way to spend an afternoon or two with the kids (or grandkids or nieces and nephews...)? Wouldn’t that be the perfect piece of art to hang in your home for years to come?

And the finished masterpiece. Paints mixed by mom, painted by Marcel, hanging in the dining room.


  1. Great idea!!! I've to try it out with my girl.

  2. I love the artwork your kids are producing. It must be amazing to freely create without adult hang ups! and yes, I too think I am slioghtly bonkers, but I do love french knots!

  3. Ah, yes, there's an art to helping but not taking over with kids. It's tough to let go.

    The artwork is from Angie's son Marcel, by the way, just to give credit where it is due. I haven't broken out the canvas with my kids yet, but it is quite overdue.