Last Monday I had the opportunity to work with another wonderful dedicated art teacher named Mady Soukis who teaches at the Forum School in Waldwick, NJ. The Forum school is a private school for “developmentally atypical children.” Some of the children have been diagnosed with autism, while others have various psychological and/ or behavioral disorders. Last year I worked with Mady with the younger grades, through Young Audiences of NJ. This year I was fortunate to be invited back this year to work with the older students. We did block prints made from personal stamps the students created using foam shapes adhered onto cardboard squares, then inked up and hand stamped. The kids were wonderful as were all the teachers and aides that worked along side the students. The prints were all varied and unique and it was great to witness the power of art to involve and transport the children to a creative realm where ability is not defined by limitations they may face otherwise.
Later that evening, I worked with my high school students through the Middletown Arts Council’s teen portfolio class. It was our final session and I hosted the teens in my studio behind my house. Nick Simko, a senior at Middletown High School North took the assignment of creating a personal stamp using the same foam that was available for the Forum School kids and rather than adhering it to the 3″ square I provided for him, he stuck the foam shapes onto the 8″ x 10″ plexi glass I had out to be used as pallets for the ink. Apologizing for using the plexi rather than the cardboard (which was a royal pain to clean) I totally appreciate the fact that Nick thought outside the box (square) and created this beautifully simple and elegant image.
I went to sleep that night inspired by my students- those with various abilities physically, psychologically, and emotionally, but completely able to live creatively in the moment.