Saturday, January 16, 2010
#15 The Art of the Matter
First, assign a space in your home and call it the gallery. Make a big deal out of the naming of this wall. Get a fancy plaque or some kind of sign that designates the space. Paint a large faux frame on the wall or buy a huge empty picture frame at the art supply store (Framing galleries usually have a clearance box of frames that are slightly damaged or didn't fit the artwork properly.) This is where the newest pieces of artwork should be hung. Use sticky tack so you won't mess up your walls. We make a big deal out of adding new things to the gallery weekly and including The Gallery on a tour when somebody new visits our home. The trick to this first step working, is that your gallery has a defined space, and only so much stuff will fit in it. So when a new piece is deemed worthy of a place in the gallery, something older must come down. This is a working artist's display gallery, not a museum. The collection is continually rotating.
Second, when something comes down it goes into a large, flat, underbed storage bin (I have one for each child) which they store under their beds. We do not make final decisions about what stays forever at this point. Everything goes in. Periodically, when the bin starts to get full, we go through and select a few pieces to send off to relatives. At the holidays and birthday time, they use large pieces as wrapping paper. They keep their favorites in the bins, space permitting of course. I also go through the collection and take out one or two of my favorites from each stage to save in their special memory boxes. The rest, we let go. This is difficult at first, but they have learned to do it because even at ages 6 and 3, they are beginning to understand that after some time passes, some pieces are simply more special than others.
For the large sculptures and items that cannot be a part of a wall gallery and become increasingly difficult to store, I suggest dated photos. We have a dry erase board that hangs next to our gallery and when something large comes home, I write the date on the board and have the kid hold the masterpiece so I can take a picture of the the cute toothless kid and the mixed media sculpture representing a telephone. We put the image into the rotating collection of images on our computer's screen saver, or print out the picture and hang it in the gallery.
My point. You have got to learn to be an art collector and an art critic when it comes to Junior's body of work. Help them to see that their art can be enjoyed in many different ways, showcased for a limited time in your gallery and then properly stored for posterity. You can make it special, but you're going to have to throw some of it away eventually. Trust me, your child's future spouse will thank you for not delivering 30 bins of artwork to their first home.