The other day I had a conversation with a public school teacher who made a very interesting observation. One of her students had a self- realization and a light bulb went on for her. Her student made a sudden, conscious decision to try, to care, and to set goals for herself. The teacher called it “flipping the switch,” and said “I hope I can motivate my students enough so they will all flip the switch.” This experienced, caring teacher wants all of her students to succeed in the classroom and as well as in life.
I know this revelation has happened to all of us at one time or another, where we decide, “enough is enough, I can do better.” It happened to me in the eighth grade, when I faced my fear of public speaking and shyness around people. I am not completely over it. I have relapses once in a while, because basically, I’m a shy person. But I have discovered that the mere fact that a person makes the decision “to flip the switch” and makes a conscience effort to change, the world opens up, and they see things differently.
The ARTree has seen this first hand with students that lack the confidence to explore without any boundaries. By boundaries, I don’t mean boundaries of classroom, but boundaries students seem to place on their abilities. These are self- imposed boundaries.
Our instructors are encouraged to spend time developing art projects. They then give the student instruction on the materials they use and how they work.
Then comes the fun part. Student are set free to explore the materials and different methods of working.
Our instructors have witnessed first -hand some beautiful transformations. Students of all ages building confidence and yes, they have even “Flipped the Switch.”
The ARTree offers many opportunities for “flipping the switch”.
Our instructors try to set the children up for success in every single project.
The ARTree Community Arts Center
One of The ARTree’s most popular and unique activities has been The Great Shoe Project. Originally created for the Santa Clarita Art Walk, the innovative process takes an ordinary shoe – tennis, oxford, combat, sandal – and transforms it into an art statement. The type of footwear used is not as important as how inspired the metamorphosis is.
A ballet slipper can become a formal place setting, patent leather shoes can sprout flowers, and a tennis shoe can make a statement about the environment. The artists can wander down whatever creative path their mind (and shoe) takes them, limited only by their imagination.
The road to success can be strolled as a couple or caravanned with the entire family. Whether you take this trail alone or with friends, your shoe leads to creative vista that far exceeds the leather, rubber, and cloth of this common and ever-present piece of everyday attire.
Jeff Barber, City of Santa Clarita coordinator for Art Slam!, requested that The ARTree recreate this project for the April event, rebranded as “Green Slam” for this month’s theme of environmental awareness and repurposing everyday items in new and interesting ways.
Thursday’s event will once again feature local artists, food trucks, music, and hands-on creative activities. Participation in the Great Shoe Project is free, with creative materials provided by The ARTree. You can bring your own shoe to decorate, or pick up one from those donated by ARTree patrons.
When your shoe is completed, you can either bring it home with a donation that supports arts education in Santa Clarita, or bid via silent auction on one of over a dozen “shoe projects” done by artists from around Santa Clarita. Be fleet of feet and bring a shoe along with your creativity to Thursday, April 4th, Great Shoe Project at Art Slam.
ARTree Board member