hello kids art!

Welcome to hello kids art, the blog of the Messy Artist.   We have lots to share about art and education, but wanted to start out first with our history and philosophy, as well as news about what we will be featuring in this blog.

Who are we?

The Messy Artist is a state of the art children’s art center in East Hanover, New Jersey.  We offer year-round art classes for children 18 months through adulthood.  In addition to art classes from September through June, we offer summer art camp and Drop-In and Play art activities for kids between our regular sessions.  Our bright, colorful studio is also popular for birthday parties.

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The Messy Artist was created and designed by Owner/Director Donna Bernstein, a professional educator and artist.   She conceived of a place like The Messy Artist in 1997 after having searched for toddler classes that would introduce her then-two-year-old son to the joys of creative art play. She didn’t find such a class. Undeterred, she started her own, combining her passion for art, love of children, and desire for a process-oriented art class for her son. The first classes were held in a church.  From there she moved on to dedicated quarters in South Orange – first on Scotland Road, then Valley Street — before creating the current 2,500-square-foot facility in East Hanover.

Donna Bernstein
Donna Bernstein

The curriculum is inspired and guided by Donna’s teaching experience and research in child development, as well as her passion for art.  The Messy Artist’s approach is rooted in the research of some of the greatest thinkers in child development, such as Jean Piaget, Maria Montessori, and John Dewey.  We’ll be featuring information on them – as well as other inspirations – in future posts.

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Our instructors all have backgrounds in fine art, education, or both.  You’ll be seeing posts from them here too, as well as artwork by their talented students.

What do we do?

We believe art is a platform for learning. The bean box, goop, homemade sensory dough, and painting with potato mashers are not only fun for the younger kids (up to age 5), but serve a specific purpose in promoting social, emotional, and intellectual growth.  They are learning as they play, from carefully selected activities and projects.

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For ages 6 and up, we offer fine art classes. Children learn the principles of art, color theory, art history, and advanced technical skills as they create beautiful, original works.  We are always impressed by our students’ creativity and insight.  We’ll be posting pictures of art and activities done by our students, as well as ideas for things you can do at home.

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At our studio, art is about the “process” rather than the end result.  Adults tend to think of art as artifacts to hang on the wall or display on a shelf.  If children are primarily concerned with what the completed object will look like, making art can become a chore, a task to be accomplished in a specific way.  It can also be frustrating when the final product does not match what the young artists picture in their heads.

The Messy Artist’s focus is on the act of creating art – the thinking, planning, and doing. We view art for children as a creative journey, rather than as a product.  Through the “process” children grow and flex their creative muscles.  They experiment with new materials and techniques, develop new skills, and feel the rush of creative joy.

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Thanks for reading; we’ll be back next with  summertime art ideas to enjoy with kids outdoors!

some of the photos used here are by mikifoto/Malika Malhotra: check out her work! http://www.mikifoto.com/