"I think I witnessed some young lives being changed" I told Mr. Ramos, visual arts instructor at Arlington Heights Elementary School. We had just finished a session with Alexandre Renoir (great grandson of Pierre-Auguste Renoir) and 30 students in the Cathedral Arts Project, a non-profit organization bringing art resources to under-priveleged children in schools. I love to see children being inspired, especially through the arts. It's rare to witness the transformation from casual interest to participation and then to emotional commitment. One can always see the effect clearly with children who expose their feelings and opinions openly. The Cathedral Arts Project has many ongoing programs with local schools throughout the area. Through the efforts of Jen Jones and the RRoberts Gallery, Alexandre was in Jacksonville for a week doing special openings and giving lectures about his work and the work of other Impressionists artists. What opportunity it was for such a renown artist to visit and paint with the children. He was a rock star!
So often we forget how impressionable children are, and that they need to be inspired each day just as we seek inspiration from others. You don't have to be in sports or movies to connect to children. Artists can fill that role too.