Where’s the Smock?

Today’s post is more of a rant.  Attribute it to the right cocktail of sleep deprivation, depth of thought, conscious awareness, the tenuous purposes of the Common Core Learning Standards, and possibly a number of other things.  I guess I’m just in that kind of ranting mood.  Maybe the birth of this rant comes from my place as an artist, so I pose a question:

Where’s the smock?  Didn’t it used to be a common item on the list of things to bring to elementary school?  I thought so.  I remember it.  Maybe yours was an apron.  Maybe it was one of your father’s old button-up shirts.  But you kept one at school because it was commonly accepted that as a young child, you were likely to encounter a messy project or two.

And here’s the rant!  I find it such bullshit that the only “art” my kid does at school involves picking up an innocuous crayon and “building hand-strength” through the humdrum, drilling, and deadening activity of coloring in a print-out picture–someone else’s artwork, if you want to call it that.  It seems that even art cannot be fun anymore.  I won’t even get into the fact that for decades, disciplines like art and music have survived at the fringe of what is commonly accepted as curriculum.  But what purpose does it serve my son now?  Yes, they are “building hand-strength.”  This is what I’ve been told on several occasions when I was shown his “artwork.”  So art’s purpose is nothing more than a means to an end– get these 4 and 5 year olds writing their letters and numbers so that they can reach the rigorous standards set forth by New York State’s arbitrary Common Core.

I guess you don’t need a smock for that.

Finger painting with the kids

The joyful mess of finger-painting!


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