Saturday, November 21, 2009

Herding the Munchkins

#234, Draw Something That Doesn't Belong To You; #153, Draw Something Under Plastic; #152, Draw a Nut

Like so many others, our state is experiencing a financial meltdown. Now the government, local labor unions, and the Board of Education are involved in a power struggle, understandable from several points of view (i.e., perspective, which as an artist I completely get) but the outcome is really, really sad. Our public schools have closed for one day a week. This would be tragic anywhere, but here in Hawaii, we already have one of the shortest school years and woefully inadequate educational systems in the nation. We cannot afford to rob children of classtime. I'd get on a soapbox but I don't have one -- or a solution, either.

So I got involved, on a whim, really. I volunteered to "help" with this program that offers art education on "Furlough Fridays." I'm not a teacher, I don't have children of my own, or much experience with the little critters. I just thought that I could pitch in somehow -- office work, I thought, or preparing lunch. I didn't think I'd be thrown into the front lines! Now it's my job to keep the 7 to 9 year olds together, and move them through four class periods per day, one day a week. It's been trippy! I don't want to get into stories, because there are so many (kids are so cute!! Whodda thunk?) and I'm afraid once I start relating the stories I couldn't stop, but I will share one pet peeve. Why the HECK do they show up each morning carrying snacks and trinkets that I ultimately have to be responsible for?

Last Friday I came home, emptied my purse, and found these: a plastic, robotic sort of toy that three little boys were fighting over. Once I confiscated him, "Tron" immediately got lost in the depths of my purse. The sand filled crocheted ball is meant to be bounced off of feet in a show of agility, but instead it was getting thrown, hard, at other kids. The bag of smoked almonds has been in and out of my purse several times now. A teacher takes it away during a drawing class, I carry it back to the breakroom and return it to its owner's lunchbox, until it shows up once more in the next class and the cycle starts over. I try to return all of these 'purse treasures' at the end of the day, but since the parents show up whenever they feel like it to take their kids home I often miss the opportunity. So I have to keep these objects safe, until next Friday, when no doubt I'll inadvertently bring another haul home with me.
***

17 comments:

Alex said...

What a story and what kind heart you've got. :) I am deeply touched by your words and action, and for you to empathize with the current situation and care for the education of the future generation, it just shows how much of a selfless person you are, a gem in the community ^^
I really like your drawings on black canvas, it's elegant, and it's very classy. The colors are great, and the lines too are detailed, admirable talent apart I think you're just so clever with it comes to hitting multiple birds with one stone with the EDM challenges. Beautiful post!

Dan Kent said...

Great illustration of a delightful story (despite the sad circumstance - I cannot believe they would so limit children's education like that!) I like your drawing on black!

Sharon said...

I like your grouping, Cristi. Love the colors on the black. You are very good with your drawing and colored pencils. :)

Sandra said...

You are taking positive action! The kids will benefit from your kindness.

Johanna said...

Wow, I think it's wonderful what you do, to volunteer to take care of the children like that! I work as a teacher (in high school) and it's no easy job even with the proper education and experience.

The drawing is excellent, and makes me want to try and draw on black paper, for example the white pencil illustrates the plastic in a very neat way!

raena said...

I can sympathize with you here! My purse used to always be filled at the end of the day, leaving me wondering what was making my purse so heavy! This is a wonderful sketch! When I first got here I had forgotten it was a colored pencil sketch and thought it was a photo!

Ellen said...

I love your drawing! Epecially the plastic. It's really well done!

donna said...

This was a great composition and it looks wonderful on the black background.

carla mueller said...

how courageous! dealing with a whole class of children is a real adventure i think!
( from my experience - with young adults though- it can be a bit overwhelming at times ;O)
and you made the best of it - a beautiful drawing! it looks great on the black paper and the plastic bag is really stunning.

another favourite on your blog is the dollar bill shirt, done so beautifully.

also: thank you for that quote by joseph campbell. i think i want to find a sacred place soon and go there often!

Krista Meister said...

Interesting story behind your very creative artwork. Thanks for sharing the behind-the-scenes look at Hawaii that most people don't get to see.

Possum Patty said...

Mmmmm, interesting. No, really, it looks awesome on the black, especially the plastic. But I also like the texture on the hacky sack.

Kirstin said...

Interesting story and good for you for volunteering. Love the drawing on black.

Dragana Savkov - Bajić said...

I love your drawing, and your interesting story! :)) It's a great when someone takes an action and make the world a little better place to live! :))
I found your blog very beautiful and inspiring. And totally agree with you about clowns.
I hope you could understand my bed English.

Shirley said...

Christie,

Your blogspot.com comments are easy for me to do, not the dreaded one I typed about.
Shirley

Anna Wolf said...

Thanks for the tip on multiple challenges :) And I must say I can see why you are so eager to find them with the effort you put in each drawing. Really impressive! And beautiful work too... I wish I had your talent (and patience)

pedalpower said...

Christie, thank you for visiting my blog...I love yours.

Yes, I have visited Hilo...in fact the Hilo side is my favorite area, and if I have my way, someday I will live there (at least for a time). I was born in Honolulu and went back to the islands for the first time in 2009... and was back in less than a year. Both times I stayed in the HPP. Ever feel like a place is calling your name? Maybe someday we can do a sketchcrawl together!

pedalpower said...

Yes, that HPP! The first time I housesat for a good friend, and the second time I rented a little house down by the ocean. And you are from Illinois....where I live now! LOL I live in Pontiac, 90 miles south of Chichago.

Consider it a date! A date with no set date as yet! Feel free to email me: homeagain62(at)verizon.net