Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sharing What We Have and Having a Blast Doing It!

One Important Note Before We Begin...two of our very own Thursday Sweet Treaters are in the Artisian Challenge this week. Please vote for Jodi Horgan's gorgeous Black and White Pendant!!! http://blockheadradiolive.com/jewelry. And Tiffany Pop's Heartfelt Grey Recycled Sweater Skirt and Warmer Set. http://blockheadradiolive.com/cba

Countless art programs, especially those for children and teens, talk about the importance of art in a young person’s life and often list benefits for participants that range from building social and problem-solving skills to increasing self-esteem, public speaking skills and more. These skills are not only essential to our development, they are also vital to our overall lives. So why is it that when there are city or state education cuts, the “arts” are the first to be sacrificed to the budget gods? And why is it that these skills are so deeply valued when we are young but as we step into adulthood we are not always encouraged to make a living in the arts?

I believe that this is a crucial time in our collective history. It’s true that the recession has brought about some tough changes and tough times for many on a global scale, yet I believe we have a unique opportunity as artists, crafters, and handmade wonders to create positive change right now on every level from affecting change in education to helping add more handmade shops and less corporate giants to the much needed restructuring of the economic landscape. It’s clear that many still don’t fully understand the importance of art and the act of creation in life therefore we need to get our art and ourselves out there further and make it known that opportunities are limitless.

With this idea in mind, I am starting a new project that I would LOVE for you to be a part of. We have all been asked to “give back” or “pay it forward”. Well, I’m going to ask you to do both and have a blast doing it together!

There is a 2nd grade class here in NYC that would love to be a part of the magic of Thursday Sweet Treat. These energetic, creative little folks would love to share their creations. Aren’t we just like them? Wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate and encourage these future artists, these creative “outside of the box thinkers” to embrace art while developing a skill set they will have for a long time to come?

In an effort to expand their artistic horizons and their view of the world, I have spoken with their teacher who is thrilled to do a project with the Thursday Sweet Treat. Here is what I need from you:

1. Theme - I would like us all to come together and create one theme for these children to work on. Early next week, I will set up a forum discussion where we will be able to brainstorm and decide on a fun theme.

2. Information - I will give all the teachers and students a small booklet of info about the artists providing the theme. The information should include:

- A small bio – 1-2 lines about your business
- The Best thing you’ve ever made (what was one product you just loved creating)
- The first thing you’ve ever made (your earliest childhood creating memory)
- Fun advice for the future (something you’d love the children to remember when they create)

Then I will present it to the class, the teacher and other teachers who might be interested along with information about the type of art each participant creates and explain what they are to do. Their timeframe will be longer than ours but once they have completed their work, I will gather it and hold a “Thursday Sweet Treat” for them at which time I will ask you to give them feedback.

I think this is a tremendous way for all of us to come together and give something to children who need it. Believe me when I say that they would be completely overwhelmed to receive feedback from real artists all over the world. Did I mention that the children will have a surprise for you as well?

This is just the beginning of projects of this sort. The more I speak with people of varying ages who are affiliated with various institutions, the more people want to play. We have the ability to be inspired and to inspire others - that’s a gift. Inspiration is hope and that hope allows us to bring new things - things that have never existed before - to life and who knows whose life we can change with what we create. Who knows what we can inspire others to create that will change our lives!

As art, crafting and the handmade movement grow, we need to help those all around us to find a place for art in their lives. You are all so amazing! You share your talent each and every week and I think it’s time to extend that gift to others in a unique, new way.

What you do, the work that you do…it changes things for the better. Let’s share that!

Are you with me?


Amanda (Blake) Fall said...

How incredibly exciting! I can't wait for my mom--AquaMaureen--to hear about this, since she recently had an experience with a 2nd grade class. My writer's group is currently putting together a box of art supplies for that class.

I was blessed to have constant encouragement in the arts while being homeschooled--I can't imagine how my life might be different without that background.

I'm very moved and grateful to have an opportunity to reach out to students and help them feel the power of art! Thank you for facilitating this, Natasha. :)

Natasha said...

Amanda - I'm ridiculously excited for this...these kids are just amazing...I love their honestly and imagination. This has the potential to be such fun...and there are more folks of varying ages wanting to play...this will have a nice section all its own on the updated TST...this is just another place to play..I can't wait for your Mom to see this...I thought of her as I began speaking with the teacher...these kids don't have any experiences with art or artists like this so this...well this could add A LOT to all our lives...ThankYOU for your excitement and desire to take part in this :)

aquamaureen said...

ohmyohmyohmy . . . here is Amanda's mom (AquaMaureen) just about jumping for joy . .. no, change that to: I DID just jump for joy, and WOOHOOED at the same time!! Just a couple weeks ago I experienced firsthand the look of sheer amazement on a 2nd graders' face when they were painting (some for the first time ever) and I said "Go wild with the brush" and they said, "CAN we?" And I said, "Oh my, YES!" Later they copied out the haiku they'd each written. Since they'd been learning about authors, I asked each one I was working with, "Who wrote this?" They'd say, slowly, "I did . . ." Then I'd prompt them, "So, now you write 'By . . . '" And then the indescribable look on their faces when they realized that THEY were the author!!! And I'd say again, "By . . ." and they'd whisper their own name . . and then write it under their poem. What an absolute gift it was to be allowed to spend this time with this precious group of kids . . Needless to say, I am THRILLED to hear of this project of yours, Natasha, and can't wait to participate.

meherio68 said...

I would love to be in, if I may, though I am so far away.

It's crucial to learn early on that your point of VIEW does matter and that there are many ways to explore and express it.

jodi said...


I'm so in. This sounds great. Can't wait to brainstorm about ideas.

Thanks for the shout out for my pendant.


Jenjen © GottaLoveMom said...

Oh I love that you're doing this.
Making a difference in someone's life - but it's actually affecting us in a way!

I'm not a professional artist but I do have a 2nd grader who thinks his mom is the coolest artistic mom (ehem..ehem..)

I'll try to come-up with something.

Thank you so much for putting this together.

Jenjen © GottaLoveMom said...

Natasha -not sure if you've read this - http://gottalovemom.blogspot.com/2009/04/just-trying-to-make-difference.html ..

I am with you... We have to give back something...


Mackin-Art said...

Please, please include me!

I am constantly trying to convince people that EVERYONE has it within them to be creative, but that creativity can/will express itself in a myrid of ways - maybe something will come out of this that could be used here on the Island too.

Frenzy23 said...

This is a GREAT idea and I can't wait to see what the kids come up with.
Art is always cut first when it come to funding because there's less of a "you take this class, you learn this" from a to b logic. You learn a multitude of things, from life skills to academics to personal achievements, and it's harder to measure it's success. In an age of standardized testing, people seem to find it harder to value.
My mother majored in art in college and I was always lucky to be surrounded by it growing up. Nothing expands and exercises the brain like art does.
I'm super excited to see what happens with this! :)

Tart Deco said...

Depending on the time frame, I'd love to do this. Of course, it will be easier for me to set a side time for such a fun and worthy project :)

KayzKreationz said...

This sounds like a lot of fun. Can't wait to see what we come up with for the kids and what they do with it.

Alicia said...

I'm in! Second grade is such a great time to start getting seriously creative - old enough to do some more difficult things but still wildly imaginative and uninhibited. That's about the age I was when I started so I'm all for passing on all this to a new generation. Can't wait to brainstorm!

Laura Pugh said...

Am I in? Are you kidding me?! Of course...this sounds so great. Thanks Natasha. You keep presenting more and more opportunities for us.

Natasha said...

It's late so I will respond to everyone in the morning but I just wanted to say...I'm over the moon...I'm so excited to embark on this journey with all of you...oh are these little ones in for some fun...and so are we!! Thank you for being so amazingly inspiring....I'm off to dream excellent dreams ...(insert big smile here)

alwaysadorable said...

This is near and dear to my heart! Art and children are my two favorite things in the world! I am totally in, just tell me when and where!

P.S. hopefully I can make Wednesdays, sweet treat...been swamped with a handful of custom orders. :)

Sherry said...

Wow Natasha...What an incredible idea you've come up with...Again!
How do you keep on generating such cool ideas.
I'm with you!

lifeartdesigns said...

Count me in also! Great thing to do....

Phoenyx Ravenswing said...


Yes! :-)

Bright Blessings & Good Fortune! :-)

Phoenyx Ravenswing said...


And it leaves such wonderful room for expansion too! :-)

Once the flow is set, I can see offering it to many teachers in many places - perhaps getting corporate sponsors to help, both on the classroom end and to help w/the website end, since I can see this really b/c quite huge! :-D

Once again, the awesome thinking - yay, you, Natasha!!! :-)

So very blessed that I found this place,

Natasha said...

aquamaureen - I love, love, love this story! I love that they found freedom in going wild with the paintbrush...I love that they found magic is realizing that they were the authors of their work. I want to bring that magic to these children and I know we can...I know it....I'm so happy you are on board with this...in honor of you I just jumped out of my seat and shouted, "WoooHooo!"

meherio68 - of course you can be a part of this...I WANT you to be a part of this...part of the magic is that you are far away because they will be learning about all of you and I like the idea of turning the world into a creative village...and I agree with you...I truly believe giving them a voice will help them to grow in ways not even I can fully imagine!

jodi!! No need for thanks about the pendant...it's fab and everyone should vote for sure!! I'm so exicted you are in...I think this is going to be a phenomental experience..I really do

Jenjen - you are an incredible artist...hands down and I want you to say that out loud...go ahead...I'll wait here....there..now doesn't that feel great...good...it's the truth and YOUR little second grader is right on!! I'm thrilled you are a part of this and will be by to read that peice you sent! Hugs right back at ya!!

Mackin-Art - Once again I find myself jumping up and down and clapping in front of my computer! If anyone saw me they would howl!! You are so in and I want to talk to you more about the Island!! I LOVE that you try to convince people...it's the truth...don't EVER stop!!

Frenzy23 - YAY!!! I wish we were right down the street from one another because I'd love to talk ..bash standardized testing - it just boggles the mind that we are all supposed to be scored a certain way when we don't thin or even learn the same way! Oh I can feel myself getting ready to jump on the soapbox so instead I'll just say I'm thrilled that you are part of this...I applaud your Mom for her major and for sharing it with you ...I can't wait to see what they make either!!

Tart Deco - YAY!!! Sooo good to see you here!! I love that you are going to be a part of this...what fun...thanks for setting aside time...it means the world to me but it will mean even more to the kids!

KayzKreationz - sooo awesome to see you here!! I love that you are going to be a part of this and yes...I think seeing what the theme will be along with seeing what they create will be magic for us all...and remember I know they have a surprise for all of you as well!

Alicia - welcome...so wonderful to have you here!! What great energy you bring and yes I agree it's a great age and an impressionable one so I really think this project will have a lasting impact!

Laura Pugh - YAY!!! I'm so happy you are in...I think this is going to be amazing and the possibilites and opportunities for this are truly limitless like the Sweet Treat itself!

alwaysadorable - I'm with you...these are two things near and dear to my heart as well...YAY!! I hope you can play as well but remember no pressure just fun...congrats on the custom orders...that rocks as does your work :)

Sherry - thanks (blushing) ...this is just something I thought would be ...unusual, fun and a great way to stetch boundaries, expand horizons, inspire, help...there are so many things this can do...it is limitless...so glad you are in!!!!

lifeartdesigns - YAY!! Janie that's awesome...so psyched you are in!!

Phoenyx Ravenswing- so very blessed to have you as a part of it..yes I think this entire project presents such an amazingly safe playground for us to test this and see how it goes...I do think it could get much bigger...and there is so much more...for now, this will be incredible to experience...I'm literally walking on cloud nine....

Michelle (mkc photography) said...

I'm late to the party, but I'm definitely in!!! Can't wait to collaborate!

lisianblue said...

oh me, me, me, me, me Too!
(sorry I couldn't help myself :) )

kids are awesome - 2nd graders are at such a cool age - I did an art in the classroom one year with my sons class - it was so fun! Years later some of the kids came up to me and told me how much they enjoyed our projects and they still had them!
this sounds like fun!

giraffelabel said...

natasha - this is an amazing idea! i have a 1st grader here, and all she needs is a little encouragement and she can just take off with her imagination. i imagine that not all kids get that encouragement, and this will be a great way to reach out! i am totally in, as i too believe that art (in all forms) is so important! can't wait!!!