by Kip Bradley, Education Studio Programs Manager
One of my most favorite essays on art is “The Pleasure and Meaning of Making” by Ellen Dissanayake. In the essay, she argues that “we are all inherently makers” — that as babies we first learn that we can create and manipulate our environment by doing things like dropping a spoon that Mom or Dad must pick up, or if necessary, by crying. This knowledge drives us to make things when we are young. However, as adults we forget the simple pleasure of making, the “Joie de faire,” as we are overcome with the fear of imperfections in the final product.
As an artist and teacher, it has always been my motivation to share the simple joy and pleasure in the process of “making,” regardless of the final outcome. Telfair Museums’ education programs, which I’m honored to help create and shape, provide the most ideal opportunities to share this idea with the largest possible number of people.
Over the course of a year, Telfair provides over 600 art-making programs inside the museum and about town for “kids” 1 to 99 years old. This gives us lots of practice to prepare for our most intense opportunity to make an impact on the cultural development of Savannah youth and encourage a life of making. Throughout the summer, Telfair offers a variety of programs to area children at the museum and in three-day programs at city-supervised neighborhood centers.
At the Jepson Center, we offer 11 camps for kids 8 through 16 years old. Each week features a different age group and art-making theme, exploring everything from videogame programming to traditional photography, drawing to crafting. One of our most popular camps, Art with Pros, brings in local artists each day to showcase their art and helps participants explore new techniques.
I’m proud to share my role at Telfair in creating a welcoming, positive, and educational atmosphere that develops a lifelong interest and involvement in culturally enriching opportunities. This, in turn, encourages the development of creative thinking skills, helping to produce more well-rounded members of our community. The museum strives to increase awareness about the importance of the arts and to encourage lifelong creative makers of Savannah—no matter your age!