Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Paula Kiszla hopes that the artist within will last well beyond childhood for her young Picassos. In a studio in her midtown garage, Kiszla, a former preschool teacher and artist with 10 years of experience in the advertising industry, kindles that creative glimmer in students as young as 3 years old. While the classes are taught year-round, her summertime courses often attract the most captivated artists. “They love to learn, and I teach in a way that they can really understand and identify art. For instance, I tell them that van Gogh paints swirly and that Monet paints spotty, ” she says.
In the summer, classes take place over a period of four days, for two hours a day, and each child creates a watercolor piece, two works on canvas, and an acrylic work. “We paint in stages – one day we do the background, then the next day we paint something on it, ” she says. Kiszla selects a famous painting, and the technique is then mimicked with each medium.
“The stories of the master artists really fascinate the kids. I tell them about van Gogh cutting off his ear and how the Impressionists all lived together to afford painting supplies. It helps them remember the history behind famous works and stay interested in the art, ” says Kiszla. “These kids get into it, and they’re able to grasp something that they’re not going to get from TV.”
Now in her ninth year of offering art lessons, Kiszla teaches more than 100 children each summer. At the end of each round of classes, she holds an exhibit where the talented tykes can display their works for friends and families. “The pride the kids take in the art show is rewarding; what they create is amazing. And they develop a love of art. I’ve had parents tell me that they take their child to a museum and he or she really knows who painted what, ” she beams. “You see that light go off in their heads, and it’s just the best feeling.”
This fall, Kizsla's five-week sessions include an hour and a half of instruction one afternoon per week for $75. Call 478-9126 for more information.
text by Jamie McFaden • photos by Erin Creel