Savannah is 10 years old, and although she’s spent time in more than 20 workshops with Snow City Arts’ teaching artists, we found her to be an already talented artist. Painting has always come naturally to her, and she particularly likes creating abstract works. Attending to this interest in abstraction, she was recently introduced to the techniques of Jackson Pollock, and she experimented with different methods of applying and working with paint.
“I like making paintings like that, because it could be anything”, Savannah said when we spoke with her recently.
She’s secure with the fact that she’s never sure how something will come out, a trait that teaching artists are happy to develop with her.
“In my first workshop with Savannah, she expressed interest in abstract art. She liked the work of Jackson Pollock and mimicked his style of painting, and realized she enjoyed the unpredictability that painting can bring. Since then, rather than pre-visualizing what she wishes to create, Savannah approaches each artwork as an experiment to test the boundaries of the medium itself in a new way – whether that be testing out several techniques in one artwork, combining several media together, or using untraditional tools (such as eyedroppers, pieces of string, or straws) to make marks. Savannah has a keen insight into her pieces and reflects upon aspects she finds to be successful as well as what she hopes to refine”, says Jess, a Visual Arts Teaching Artist.
We love that Savannah brings so many different skills to a workshop, and are thrilled to introduce her to new and different art forms and techniques. After just one visit from our musical teaching artist Kevin, Savannah’s uncle purchased her a ukulele, and she’s quickly mastered several songs in the hospital. Her mother finds this particularly helpful, as 5th grade is the first year Savannah could be in band, but hasn’t been able to participate, however, due to her time in the hospital.
Savannah has always pursued outside art activities throughout her educational career. She has taken part in the Young Rembrandts after school program for budding young artists for many years. And she’s even taken skills she’s learned and brought them to other members of her family. For example, she’s taught her sister how to make Hybrid Animals, one of our popular creative writing projects. And she shares her poetry with her grandmother, who is herself a poet. She’s not merely interested in creating and learning about art while in the hospital, but actively shares her talents with others.
“Savannah is always willing to experiment with different genres and ideas, and in each workshop brings her considerable thoughtfulness and talent to the process. She deliberates on each decision, making careful aesthetic choices to ensure that she ends up with a piece of art that she is proud of”, says Eric, Creative Writing Teaching Artist.
While she has spent a lot of time in the hospital recently, her artwork has served as more than just a creative distraction. A portfolio of her work was sent in the fall, and her art teacher was duly impressed with her work. She received credit for all of her work, and the teacher wrote a letter to Savannah’s parents talking about the depths of her talent that shone through the work she made in her art workshops. While her many trips to the hospital can be difficult, she looks forward to her time making art.
“When you go to the hospital as often as Savannah does, she gets excited to do an art project or play an instrument instead of watching TV”, says Tammy, Savannah’s mother. “She has gotten to experience different activities that she may not have been exposed to before. She gets to pursue her passion and it makes her happy and proud of herself. Savannah has gotten to know all of her instructors very well and looks forward to seeing their smiling, friendly faces”.