#11. Spend an hour a week creating a painting or sculpture; keep improving it—or create a whole collection. Ask some friends, or maybe your art teacher, to come by for your own personal “gallery opening.”

IDEA #11. Spend an hour a week creating a painting or sculpture; keep improving it—or create a whole collection. Ask some friends, or maybe your art teacher, to come by for your own personal “gallery opening.”

This is as broadly open-ended as any suggestion we will offer The Interested Child, and the intent here is to encourage the young person to take an intellectual and creative risk—to try something new, and perhaps to attempt to produce something in a medium or genre that is completely unfamiliar.

The work could be a simple papier-mâché figure or object, perhaps built around a frame of bent coat-hangers. It might be a watercolor painting or even a “mixed-media” piece in crayon, marker, and paint. The medium does not matter, nor does—and this must be emphasized—technical prowess.

What does matter is the idea of continuous improvement, that taking the time to reflect on a work in progress and then re-do, re-touch, or even re-conceptualize is an important, even essential, part of the creative process. A work begun, set aside, and then returned to at a later time, with a fresher mind and spirit, will naturally evolve in ways that the creator could not have imagined when the work was begun. For the child to see and experience this—and then to explain the process to viewers when the work is “unveiled”—is an important exercise in creative self-discovery, metacognition, and self-expression.

And make the “gallery opening”—or unveiling, or simply the viewing—an event to honor both the effort of the creator and the learning that has been occurring.

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