Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Andy Warhol's Dog" by Katie Carleton, age 7

I pulled these three creations from Katie's backpack today.  

"Andy Warhol's Dog" by Katie Carleton, age 7 (crayons on paper) 

"Andy Warhol's Dog" by Katie Carleton, age 7 (paint on paper) 

"Andy Warhol's Dog" by Katie Carleton, age 7 (paint on paper) 

Thursday is the day Katie's classmates and she attend art class for one hour at their public school.  Thursday is my favorite day to dig through the goodies in Katie's backpack.  I do it the moment we walk through the front door, before I've got my coat off, like a kid sitting in her PJ's on Christmas morning unwrapping the biggest gift under the tree. 

I document everything.  I write down the title, her name and age, the date.  I photograph the best ones and share them on Facebook so my mom who lives an hour away knows what's going on in her grandchild's life.

"What's the title of this one?" I asked, holding up the one with four panels.

"Andy Warhol's Dog," Katie said, nonchalantly as she grabbed a piece of bubblegum from her stash on the kitchen counter.

"Not Andy Warhol's Dogs, plural?" I asked, wondering if I should have used the word "plural".  She's only in second grade.  She might not know what it means.

"No.  'Andy Warhol's Dog,'" Katie said again, in the same, nonchalant tone.  "It's just one dog.  Andy Warhol liked to repeat things," Katie said blandly, as if this is common knowledge.  

Art history was one of my favorite subjects in college.  I've been to the MoMa in San Francisco, the MoMa in New York, The Met, and The Whitney.  I've been to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, my hometown, numerous times.  I follow I Require Art on Facebook.  I have framed prints by Modigliani, Picasso, and van Gogh throughout our home.  I have original works by friends and family framed on our walls.  What can I say?  I dig art.

As big an art lover as I am at age forty-three, I do not think I could have told you that "Andy Warhol liked to repeat things" when I was a seven year old second grader attending public school.  We did not begin studying individual artists and their techniques until high school at least.

Kids at Katie's public school learn things at a faster pace than they did when I attended public school.  It amazes me.  I'm happy with the progress that has been made in the public education of our nation's children.  It's far from ideal, but it's getting better.  I'm impressed with what Katie's art teacher has been able to teach these rich young minds with such little funding.  Public school art teachers make much less money than great artists such as Andy Warhol did in his lifetime, and yet they imbue the masses with art in creative ways, too.