Posted on 25 January 2012
I am a Sculptor, mostly stone carving, and, since 1995 I have been teaching children from 4 years and up to A-level how to sculpt in stone. Everyone is given paints and crayons from early childhood, but not often chisels and mallets!
I have NEVER found a child who was unable to do it, and very few who were unwilling to try and 'release a head from a lump of stone'!! The staff have been incredibly supportive and usually SO enthusiastic that I have often ended up running a Staff and Parent Workshop!
I have taught over 20,000 children to sculpt in stone, and have worked with children with learning difficulties, and ones with behavioural problems. Even blind children at the RNIB school in Worcester discovered they could do it! I have worked on the West Bank in Jerusalem with Iseaeli and Palestinian children, teaching them that carving stone together is more fun than throwing stones at one another! Same in Omagh, Northern Ireland where Catholic and Protestant youth came together through Art.
Art in schools is a wonderful thing, it should never be allowed to be lost because of funding cuts, BUT NOR should Artists sell their valuable talent short! It is all too easy, because we love what we do, and want to share it, to allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. JUST REMEMBER the plumber won't repair the school's boiler for less than he normally charges, because he feels sorry for them, and the IT expert CERTAINLY won't! Isn't it funny they always find money when they really need to?
The Big Art Week sounded GREAT till I learnt that Artists were expected to go into schools for NO FEE.....just for the honour of being asked! I said I would as long as they could convince Waitrose to give me my shopping for free!
Mo Gardner, Sculptor