We have been working with the wonderful people at the Granville Studio of Visual Arts for some time now, helping them to put together kits for their beautifully creative art classes that function under the name Orange Couch. So far, this curriculum has been implemented in classrooms and enrichment programs, changing the lives of everyone it touches. Today they are expanding their program offerings to include homeshoolers! We are thrilled to have Paul Hamilton, the video instructor and Creative Director for GSVA, here to talk to us about this endeavor. Oh, and make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post. Two lucky winners will take home the 10 week series complete with all the art supplies you'll need for each lesson!
Here is what Paul had to say about the Orange Couch project, followed by some interview questions:
Paul: Our purpose is to illuminate the process of creativity and the positive effects of individual artistic expression. Just as our bodies seek nourishment; our minds seek expression through creative ventures.
Immersed in harmonious rhythms and unfiltered enthusiasm artists create works bearing a fiercely individualistic imprint. This desire for individual expression exists in all people.
Q: You have said that sending arts education to the far corners would be the biggest educational miss step of our generation. What did you witness that brought you to that conclusion? Was there a specific event that prompted you to start GSVA and the Orange Couch series?
A: Children with their heightened perception to these natural desires of self expression find art to be simply part of their purpose. The pulling away from art education we are seeing in some systems exaggerates an already imbalanced atmosphere. It is natural for children to seek expand and refine their artistic abilities as they develop. The orange couch program was created out of the desire to provide proper nourishment to our children in a fresh and unique way.
Q: In your mission statement you say "foster creative courage", what does that mean in the Orange Couch vocabulary? How is that brought to life in your program offerings?
A: The term “creative courage” is simply the notion that all individuals seek creative expression. The modern society we are a part of has provided rewards for these of high artistic merit. We believe that the courage to force ahead expressing ideas and thoughts visually and verbally is a key role in developing a child's potential. The courage to dream, the desire to create and the strength to express one’s own ideas is the signature of those making this world a better place.
Q: Tell me a story, what Orange Couch moment are you most proud of?
A: Orange Couch classes often refer to quotes from well known authors, artists, scientist and dreamers. These provide stimulating conversation deeper thinking and often reflection on a variety of subjects. One particular quote stated that “art was a way to make your soul grow”. As the children worked I was impressed with one child who really seemed to be blossoming in this world of self realization and artistic expression. Knowing that he has had a difficult life full of transitions and roadblocks, and was now living with his grandfather, I encouraged him to share that his “soul has grown”, he paused, looked up to me and said “I don’t think grown-ups would understand”.
Q:What differences do you see in young children through the exposure to arts education?
A:The stories are countless. I think anyone who takes the time to witness children express their lives and vision through artistic means, find richness in life unparalleled. The arts are the gateway to our deeper selves. The healing, growth and sheer joy I encounter in our classes provide endless enthusiasm.
Q: What impacts have you seen in your community since starting GSVA and Orange Couch?
A: GSVA as a community member has always been an important facet to our team. GSVA strives to empower the community to seek and express itself in a positive and powerful way. We believe that through community projects, murals and continued presence in our community, we can influence each and every person to strive for a beautiful new world.
Q:How do the "Innovations" GSVA uses, i.e D.B.A.E. , Reggio Emilia, Visual Thinking Strategies, and Project Zero set you apart? How are the principals from those methodologies integrated into your programs?
A:GSVA provides a safe and comfortable environment to create drawing upon the principals developed by some of the best methods of teaching and visually learning. Our programs seek to provide a deep level of encouragement. The rich tapestry of creative expression can be woven into our life. GSVA provides ideas and powerful new ways to express one’s ideas and strives to give children the channel to see themselves in magical new ways.
Q: What is the biggest thing you have learned throughout this adventure? What words of wisdom would you like to pass on to others looking to bring more arts education into their community?
A:The biggest thing I have learned through my involvement in the community is that, at any level when one gives to the greater community the effects ripple far beyond the initial action.
Q: What does the word "imagine" mean to GVSA?
A:GSVA would use the word “imagine” to set the tone for creative learning. We can dream,imagine, act and do great things when we have been given a safe and secure environment to be ourselves. The freedom to express our ideas and thoughts takes courage and strength. We strive to provide programs filled with the ideas of personal fulfillment, compassion, sharing, giving and imagination.
Thank you Paul for sharing Orange Couch with us today!
And now for the giveaway!! Not one, but TWO lucky winners will take home the 10 week series which not only includes hours of amazing instruction by none other than Paul Hamilton himself, but also, all of the art supplies you'll need for the entire curriculum!
To enter to win leave a comment on this post by 4pm on 3/25/14. The winner will be chosen by the lovely random number generator and announced the same day.
*Want even more chances? Follow us on Pinterest and/or Facebook (if you already do then you can get an extra entry by sharing this giveaway on your Pinterest and/or Facebook page). You can also give yourself another shot by sharing this giveaway on your blog or twitter. Just make sure, whatever you do, you come back here and leave a comment letting us know how you shared.