Skilly-do ♥ Creative Early Educators - Courtney Klemens

26 Feb 2018

 
teaching artist educator Courtney Klemens

Today we’d like you to meet Courtney Klemens, an outstanding art educator in Raleigh, NC. Here’s Courtney’s advice for encouraging our kids’ creativity: “Look to Museums, community centers, and art teachers in your world; you’ll find lots of professionals like me who think deeply about this, and create resources for parents to model artmaking and creative thought in their children.” Read on to find out more about Courtney, her classes, art and passion for teaching ...  

Courtney has been an art educator for over 10 years and currently manages the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Family Programs. She started her teaching career in her hometown bead store, with jewelry-making classes. She became a student docent during her freshman year of college and has been working in museum education ever since. You can find Courtney’s programs here at the NCMA, including art classes, festivals and hands-on experiences in museum galleries. Rock on, Courtney!

Why did you want to teach young children about art?

It was a shock to realize that passion for art history wasn’t a universal feature! I decided teaching would be the most effective way to convince my friends that my enthusiasm for museums was justified, then realized I could have a bigger impact if I started reaching people earlier. No matter what form my work takes, I strive to make art fun, a little irreverent, and accessible for all.

What’s your favorite type of media or art form that you like to make with children? And why?

Anything wearable. There’s nothing more fun that sculpting or collaging something you can wear on your head or move around in. I love to see young artists proudly parading around the galleries showing off their work!

What is the most rewarding part of your work with children?

There’s nothing more satisfying than that “Aha!” moment where you can witness someone forging a deep connection with an idea or art work. Creating opportunities to foster those experiences at the Museum allows me to process rediscovery in my own thinking and reflection on what made my own “aha” moments so powerful.

What advice would you give parents on how to encourage their creativity in art activities?

There are so many ways to facilitate creative engagement with a child, even if you don’t know where to get started. Look to Museums, community centers, and art teachers in your world; you’ll find lots of professionals like me who think deeply about this, and create resources for parents to model artmaking and creative thought in their children.

What kind of art do you make for yourself?

In the past year I’ve become completely obsessed with weaving on a floor loom. Weaving’s mix of infinite possibilities with meticulous planning and repetition matches exactly how my brain works!

Feeling inspired?

Try Courtney’s favorite art form-- an original, wearable piece of art in our activity, One of a Kind T-shirt. Then, to understand why making original things is so important to your preschooler’s early education, check out our blog, Support Your Child’s Tinkering - It’s Full STEAM Ahead!

Know an amazing creative educator that works with children ages 2 to 4 years old?

Please do send us your recommendations: mail@skilly-do.io! And we're always glad to know what you think-- you can give us your feedback right here.