The art of teaching art

Local artist, Laurie McGuire Richardson, 51 of SouthPark, began teaching art classes in 1997 for children after several requests from parents. She now teaches after school classes, summer camps, and even weekend workshops. Classes began Sept 8 but there are a few slots still available!

Q. What made you decide to expand and begin teaching art to children?

A. I have always loved art and took art after school growing up. It was a big part of my art education and my wanting to "be an artist when I grew up".

It seems in our schools today that children don't have as many opportunities to do art and I wanted to offer that to the kids in my community. I enjoy being around children and their creativity is so inspiring.

There is no right or wrong in art and I think that it is important for kids to have an area of their life where they can express their individual ideas.

Q. What is your favorite medium? Why?

A. Hard to say! I love pastels for the immediacy of the colors; I love oil paints for their richness and fun in putting on the canvas; I love collage for the layering, messiness and spontaneity!

Q. What types of things do children learn in your classes?

A. I like to expose the kids to lots of different mediums for making art. We do projects using pencils, pastels, markers, paints, and clay. We'll do printmaking as well as a fun paper making class. We learn about artists, past and present and that while 2+2 has to be 4, with art there are no "right" or "wrong" answers.

Q. Where are the classes held?

A. The classes are held in my home studio in SouthPark.

Q. What ages are the children in your classes?

A. Currently I have classes for rising K-8th grade. I will be teaching an art class at Park Road Montessori as part of their Montessori Mornings program this fall and am in the process of planning an adult class for one morning during the week. My summer camps are several weeks during the summer vacation.

Q. How many students are in each class? Are individual classes available?

A. My class size is limited to 8 per class. I like to keep it small for more individualized attention. My weekly classes are by the session but I do offer weekend holiday workshops through out the year.

Q. How much are the classes?

A. My sessions typically run for 13 weeks and the cost is $270 per session, all supplies included. Summer camps are one week sessions throughout the summer.

Q. What can parents do at home to help encourage their children's love of art?

A. To encourage children's love of art, parents can take their children to museums, music and dance events that are appropriate for kids. In Charlotte, we are so fortunate to have The Mint Museum, The Bechtler Museum, The Light Factory (photography), The Charlotte Symphony and NC Dance Company. At home, have a place where they can keep a little "art studio" furnished with art supplies that they can create in whenever the mood strikes. Also, displaying their art in the home is a way to show how proud you are of their creations. Maybe designate a wall somewhere for hanging their art.

Q. Where can we see some of your art and designs?

A. My website is a good place to start to see my styles of work -

Recently I have licensed some of my images to manufacturers for their products such as garden flags and greeting cards. My Ferris Wheel Birthday card can be found locally at Blackhawk Hardware in the DesignDesign section and I had a garden flag at Home Depot this summer. I am in the process of finding a local gallery to show my work, and I also enjoy doing commission work.

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