Artist of the Month: Senior helps kids create art

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”courtesy of Sierra Beatrice” align=”alignright” width=”300″] A picture created by a child at the Newton Community Service Center displays flowers and a sun.
by Leah Budson
For as long as she can remember, senior Sierra Beatrice has made art, whether it be drawings, jewelry or shell and macaroni picture frames.
Although she continues making art in her free time, she also helps three to five-year-olds express themselves through art in her job at the Newton Community Service Center (NCSC).
She has been a teacher’s aid in the NCSC Early Education and Child Care program for the past two years and had worked in the daycare prior to that.
“The preschool has always done art with the kids,” Beatrice said. “They draw with oil pastels and markers every day, and some days of the week, we do structured art projects based on the topics the kids are learning about.”
In addition to art being able to “reflect what the children have learned,” creating art as a child can improve one’s art later in life, said Beatrice.
“I think that art is something that you need practice to get better at. As a child, you can develop your art technique and learn a wide variety of skills,” she said. “I love to watch the improvement and development of the different techniques that the kids have.”
Judy Weinstock, NCSC early education and care director, echoed Beatrice’s sentiment. “It’s pretty exciting to see kids who start out drawing lines or circles end up being able to really make something that they have thought about,” she said.
Art activities for preschoolers also have practical benefits, Weinstock added. “They learn how to use materials like paints and markers and glue. It also helps development of hand-eye coordination and hand muscles.
“It’s a wonderful outlet for self-expression,” she said. “The kids get to be creators.”
"Kids have a more straightforward way of doing art, but it can have a much deeper message,” said Beatrice.
[media-credit name=”courtesy of Sierra Beatrice” align=”alignright” width=”250″] “Kids have a more straightforward way of doing art, but it can have a much deeper message,” said Beatrice.
Teenagers, like Beatrice, are great when working with children, according to Weinstock. “Young kids really respond well to the liveliness of a young person, who has a different kind of outlook and energy than an adult,” she said. “The high school students who come in are lively, fun and respectful. They clearly love being engaged with kids.”
Beatrice said one of her favorite parts of her job is being able to see something from a child’s perspective by looking at his artwork.
“It is interesting how they see objects and how they communicate that onto paper because it is very different from the way that an adult would see something and communicate it.”
Beatrice said another part of working with children that she loves is the ability to help students express the picture they want.
“I always choose to go to the drawing areas of the class and help kids to communicate the picture that they want to communicate,” she said.
Beatrice, who is an art major III and ceramics II, compared the way teenagers create art to the way preschoolers create art.
“I think that teenagers often start with a message and build the drawing from that, but kids just dive in and draw, and then, you see their message and what they think by the way the picture develops.”
Regardless of the artist’s age, Beatrice said, “I love how you learn a lot about people and their ideas through their art.
“Art is a way to express yourself, your politics, your outlook and your philosophies,” she said. “I love that every person or kid has their own unique technique that’s like a fingerprint.”
Beatrice said, “I think art is important for all ages. It is a way to articulate things you might not even know you feel, and it is relaxing, therapeutic and beautiful.”