Pure Joy: Teaching art in the parks

This has been a great summer for me. It’s also been one of the busiest times of my life. Man, have I had fun.

Many renditions of the classic fruit bowl

This summer, I have been working with a nonprofit organization called Seniors Creating Art. With funding from the parks department, I have had the opportunity to teach art to seniors in the park.

There was a drawing class in Greenwood park, a watercolor class in Jimi Hendrix park, and a sketchbook class in Maple Leaf Park. Each one had its own vibe, and the students brought so much positive energy to each class. I had a great time.

I went to Pikes Place Market to get the good flowers for my favorite class

I have taught a few classes before, but these were more ongoing and extensive then my others. People really got into it, and brought their best art skills to each class. I found that many of my students had great hidden art skills, and once they got over their initial resistance, they put out some awesome art.

I was blown away by how positive everyone was. I’ve talked before about working retail, and how bad retail workers are treated. This was completely different. I felt genuine respect and compassion from my students. It just makes me want to get out and teach more art.

Teaching has been something that I have resisted for years, because I felt I was not ready yet. I wanted some more life experience to give me more clout as a teacher. Over the years, I have been hard on my teachers, due to my dislike of authority figures. So I wanted to be able to speak on the topics with more integrity. At this point in my life, I feel ready to do it. And now that I’m actually doing it, I’m getting more and more comfortable with it.

And as a side effect, I’ve put out some good art myself

Through the fall I have some other classes and gigs on the calendar. I’ve enjoyed them all so far, and I look forward to more classes in the future. This level of positivity is something that I want to keep in my life, and it has made for a great summer.

Thank you to all my beautiful artists who came to my classes. Especially those that showed up in the rain or the 100 degree heat. Sometimes you gotta fight through it. Truly this has been a joy.

-Sam, your art teacher