Skilly-do ♥ Creative Early Educators - Angela Lombardi
22 May 2018
Today we’d like you to meet Angela Lombardi, an extraordinary art educator in Raleigh, NC. Here’s why Angela’s believes teaching artists are key to our children’s education: “It is exciting to me that the youth that we serve also get to see professional artists in the act of creating their own work. My hope is that we are raising up a new generation of artists who are unafraid to try and fail and are always looking to find creative solutions!” Let’s find out more about Angela, her classes, art and passion for teaching ...
Angela started her art education journey 20 years ago, in 1998 while studying studio art at Manhattan’s Hunter College and working at the Bank Street College of Education Bookstore. There she discovered the theories of early childhood educators such as Piaget, Vygotsky and Howard Gardner. This sparked a connection between creating her own artwork and sharing the creative experience with children. When Angela moved to the Raleigh area in 2006, her path as a teaching artist took off. She began teaching at the Durham Arts Council, Sertoma Arts Center and the North Carolina Museum of Art.
You can now find Angela in Downtown Raleigh’s Artspace in where she's Education and Outreach Coordinator. Angela develops Artspace’s Educational Programming, enabling their studio artists to give back to their community and share what they love as teaching artists. She also works with public school art teachers in Artspace’s Summer Arts Program, providing a flexible, relaxed setting for teachers experiment with new ideas, play with processes and work with our young artists. You can also find Angela’s illustrations and paintings here www.angelazappalart.com. Right on, Angela!
Why did you want to teach young children about art?
Growing up surrounded by art, from my artist mother, artistic siblings, frequent visits to museums and a house full of books, art was always available to me. It was a means of expression, a way to challenge myself and to find satisfaction in measurable progress. I enjoyed sharing what I had figured out in my processes and as I got older, knew that sharing what I loved was just a fundamental part of who I am and how I relate to the world. I have always been intrigued by how children experiment and approach most everything they encounter in their worlds with an eagerness to dissect and understand things on an internal level. I knew art to be an excellent tool for observation, experimentation and learning from your mistakes. I wanted to make sure that art served that function in young lives.
What’s your favorite type of media or art form that you like to make with children? And why?
I am really enjoying printmaking with children – the excitement of the reveal is the best! I like that there is a deliberate thought process, careful planning and then the final image is still something a bit out of their control. But my first and always ultimate favorite is the self-portrait. I love those all day, everyday.
What kind of art do you make for yourself?
I do a lot of silverpoint drawings inspired by the art of the early renaissance combined with the work of more contemporary surrealists. I recently started sculpting with clay again, which is a nice contrast to the tight drawing style I usually use. Balance is key! I became a much happier artist years ago when I had the epiphany that my work as an artist was to create the things I wanted to see in the world. I think that understanding is a great gift to pass along to young artists! It stops them from making work they think they should be making and frees them up to make personally meaningful work. It should go without saying, but it needs to be said!
What is the most rewarding part of your work with children?
I love witnessing their sense of accomplishment when they have mastered any attempt at creating – whether that is a great color combo, a cool mark or a fully shaded portrait from life. I love their openness and curiosity at age 5, their hilarious creations at age 10, the community it gives them at 13, and the pride in craftsmanship of the older teens. I love it all.
What advice would you give parents on how to encourage their creativity in art activities?
My advice would be to always have the tools of creation on hand, easy access, and to mix it up materials-wise. Make it inviting! Nobody is inspired by a pile of clutter and some dried up markers. Collaborate with your kids! Have them finish one of your doodles, color with them, ask them what they are working on rather than asking leading questions. Tell them you are interested in what they make!
Try our Color Outside the Lines activity collection! You can learn more about why art making is key to your child's early learning in our blog, Art Builds brains - How Art Stimulates Young Children's Cognitive Growth.
Know an amazing creative educator that works with children ages 2 to 4 years old?