Art Education Goes Global, Join Us?

As regular readers of this blog know, much of my focus is sharing ideas, learnings, insights…educating. While in Chicago today, for my part-time “day job“, the stars aligned on art education, even though this is a marketing event. There really is an “art spirit” (or Karma), isn’t there?

At a break between conference sessions, stars aligned when I met Lori Heinsman, founder of HelloCreativity and then later in the day listened intently to a speach by Nicholas Negroponte, a long-time technology visionary from MIT. Lori is focusing on supporting artistic development of children (in an era of every-decreasing arts funding in K-12), and Negropante is leading “One Laptop Per Child“, an effort focused on mass-producing inexpensive < $100 laptops (hand-cranked power, no less!) for children in developing countries. What an interesting intersection! Do you see the possibilities? Imagine millions of children isolated by poverty and georgraphy sharing their artwork and getting encouragement from mentors around the world.

Hello Creativity

According to their site, “Hello CREATIVITY is a free, online mentoring program dedicated to helping children build self-confidence through artistic expression and steady, positive reinforcement.” The way Lori described the site to me, children read feedback from mentors who help their artistic expression grow through online tools, like sharing photos of work, discussion, etc.
Read this page to learn about mentoring. I started mentoring today by leaving encouraging comments…Will you? Subscribe to their RSS feed to make it easy.

One Laptop Per Child

Nicholas Negroponte opened his speach today by mentioning that he’d just met with Jeff Bezzos the day before. Apparently Bezos is a big supporter of Negroponte’s efforts to help end poverty through education. In talking about how to get the average person involved (not just billionaire philanthropists like Bezos), he suggested the slogan,”buy 2, get 1″, of course a play on the “Buy two, get one free” sales pitch–but the end result is, a person in a developed country like the US buys one, and the other goes to an undeveloped country. Neat.

Isn’t this an inspiring idea? Imagine children in villages with no running water, no electricity communicating and learning with a PC. For a geek like me, the devices themselves are fascinating enough to write a dedicated blog post, but the reason I thought you’d like to know about it is the possible impact on the arts, and how a site like Hello Creativity (among others) will make it possible to broaden our online art community dramatically.

I don’t know yet how an individual can support OLPC, but if you like this idea, get started today with Hello Creativity and mentor a child.

NOTE: The dog sketch (pencil on paper) above was created by Skylar, age 6. To encourage Skylar, leave a comment here (and remember to be encouraging, nice! This is not a critque for an adult).

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