THE GIFT ART PROGRAM Bonnye Brown/ Creative Director
The Real Deal Artist
Six years ago, I started an art class called the “Real Deal Artist” in my backyard art studio. This class was created for students who had a strong interest in pursuing art as a career. At the time, these students ranged from 6th to 9th grade along with my 5-year-old son who insisted he was old enough to be in “Real Deal” class. Many were shy, did not speak much, but they all had amazing skills in art. The only problem was they all had different amazing skills in art. Some were cartoonist, some were realist, abstract artist and some were experimental artist. Immediately, I learned that teaching one lesson, one way would not be enough for this group. I learned how to teach the individual and their skill level went on the rise.
I named the class “Real Deal Artist” not because they were there best artist in the world, but because I wanted them to learn the real deal about becoming a professional artist. I also wanted to prepare them for the advance art classes that they had in high school. I knew if they were prepared properly, those classes would really take them to the next level and help them with scholarships.
So, throughout the years I tried to give them as much exposure as I could to the professional art world. All of our community projects included large audiences, so fear of people and public speaking would hopefully become easy as they got older. Some of our services were face painting, drawing caricatures, designing props at the 18th and Vine Jazz festival, large murals at the Chalk festival at Crown Center, team leading murals at schools and community centers, and annual art exhibits and art competitions locally and nationally. Whatever the project, my students gave 100% participation thanks to the support of their parents.
Much success has come from the “Real Deal” class, all of my students who have graduated are now in college majoring in great things such as animation, architecture, engineering, art education. Many of my students have won 1st place awards in local and national exhibits and some have sold artwork and received various commissions around the city.
Sad but happy to say, the last of the original “Real Deal Artist” are seniors now, except for my 5-year-old son who is now 12. So, to make their last year special they have the honor to showcase their art in their first professional gallery, the Jones Gallery. The artwork that they will be exhibiting is a collection of art created at my art studio, at the high school and at home in the private time.
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