As an intern with Cleveland Neighborhood Arts this summer, I am responsible for producing written pieces on the benefits of arts involvement to Cleveland residents. Two of my biggest loves are Cleveland and the arts, so I am very pleased to take on this task.
In order to really see first-hand how the organizations impact their students, Cleveland Neighborhood Arts kindly allowed me to assist Augusto Bordelois in teaching visual arts to children at Foluké Cultural Arts Center’s summer camp. As an artist, I know how important it is for children to get excited about art early on in life. Starting so young, I was able to work diligently to build and improve my skill. The exposure I had to art as a young child led me to where I am today. Having encouraging teachers is what influenced me continue to pursue art as a career.
I have never taught before, but I know that the teachers that had the greatest impact on me were the ones who were interested in my progress. I recently received a Facebook message from my middle school art teacher whom I had lost contact with, checking in on me to make sure I was still making art. My fourth grade teacher told me she still has drawings of mine saved. I still visit and keep in touch with my high school art teachers, and my professors at the Cleveland Institute of Art have become some of my greatest role models.
What I realized from these relationships is that the influence is reciprocated. Teaching at Foluké has helped me understand the student/teacher relationship from the other side. Augusto told me that the key is to make them have fun. I remember from being a kid that the best classrooms felt like structured play. Seeing young minds get excited about creating something was very rewarding. Exposing young minds to creative thinking is crucial to our community’s future. After only two weeks, the children have had such an impact on me.
I have had the opportunity to sit down and speak with multiple people whose lives have been changed by CNA’s organizations. I have met an 86-year-old piano student who swears she will never be old, a 26-year-old dancer who has transitioned from living out of his car as a child to a professional dancing career, a nine-year-old aspiring surgeon, a 12-year-old future architect, and many other inspiring individuals. Every person I have spoken with has had a unique story to share. Many even thought of their organizations as a second family.
This excitement and involvement not only makes great artists, but helps to create admirable and involved citizens. I am very much looking forward to hearing more stories and encouraging a new generation of creators.
Each week we use this space to give each of our interns a chance to reflect on their internship experiences.
Placement: Broadway School of Music – Cleveland Neighborhood Arts project. School: Cleveland Institute of Art.