Summertime, and the Art School is busy. It’s crawling with kids of all ages in Summer Camp and other classes. This semester, Art School director Vince Hazen is teaching the Parent-Child class (as if he’s not busy enough!)—designed to allow parents (or grandparents, aunties, and uncles) and their pre-school children to explore painting, printmaking, drawing, clay, and mixed media together. And his youngest son, Atlas, just happens to be one of the students.
Before becoming director of the Art School in 2009, Hazen oversaw the school’s outreach program and taught screenprinting, painting, and youth classes. So this isn’t his first rodeo. We asked him what it was like to be back in the teacher’s saddle.
What are Parent-Child classes?
They are weekly sessions that are an easy way for our youngest artists to become familiar with art classes at the Art School. Having them come with an adult helps keep them engaged and I believe the parents also find the collaborative projects meaningful. There is an Animals in Art theme for our projects that includes: ceramic sculptures, ‘big stand-up at an easel’ paintings, printmaking, cast plaster relief sculptures and an assemblage with plastic from a beach cleanup. We use animals from the museum’s Lending Collection and a tour of the museum’s galleries for inspiration.
Don’t you have enough on your plate as Art School director?
I enjoy being the director of the Art School, but I miss teaching. I’ve participated as a parent previously, but this summer I’m taking time to be a Parent Teacher in the Parent Child class. I love getting to know the young artists and their parents, and watching them discover, wonder and create. Teaching this class is also research—one of my goals as an instructor is modeling how to collaborate on art projects. Three- to five-year-olds often do not have the motor skills to make the work that they dream up. But if we treat them like art directors, where they get to be the boss, the resulting artwork is magical.