“Art Play Date” at the Terry McCormick Gallery

Children ages 4-12 attend Evelyn Patricia Terry's Art Play Date.

As we grow older, we often fixate on other people and thus cannot focus on goals that we originally had. I have done so in the past and many people around me do so now. We lose ourselves in the whirlwind of wanting to be loved, wanting politics to go our way or wanting what someone else has. We grow disappointed in the world, we think, but we’re really disappointed in ourselves for not disappearing the “piles of disappointments.” Our anger creates so much insecurity. We, afflicted ones, believe that it is exclusive only to our lives and the worse is that we believe that there is no way to change or adjust our prognosis. I needed options to change. I received them. That is what I pass on to others.

I take my cues often from children. Children between birth and 7 years old unabashedly want what they want. They might hear “no” a lot, but they are determined—thus, the tantrums. Later on, in varying degrees, they begin to think that what they want may not be forthcoming, acceptable or possible. Some devise schemes, some give up – the fortunate ones are given options.

That’s why I hold “Art Play Date” in my space, the Terry McCormick Gallery. I teach children, and their parents and grandparents who must accompany them, to access their creativity in the visual arts, as they are introduced to and learn more about healthy food choices. My watercolor and mixed media workshops encourage individual thinking, exploration and exposure to a wide range of art supplies. In past workshops, I have also introduced juicing raw vegetable with apples and blending frozen fruit smoothies. In the summer, frozen berry and banana smoothies are not only a healthy treat, but very refreshing.

Children making art at the Terry McCormick Gallery.

At my last “Art Play Date,” in February, we created mixed media brooches and works on paper. The children and their parents enjoyed vegan chili, somosas, hummus and chips, and lots of raw fruits and vegetables. Attendees must learn to eat raw healthy snacks, so that they can enjoy finishing with a dessert–blueberry, strawberry, apple and walnut pizza pie. My goal is to promote what is within our control and dwell less on what is outside of our control. We can start with honoring our bodies and strengthening our connection to our creativity.

I thoroughly enjoy working with children, just as I do with people of all ages, because my goal is to maintain an atmosphere that allows people to go within to access their creative strength. I believe we must teach children possibility thinking—encouraging them to search for and develop options. Teach children they must not demand that others get something for them, be something for them, or know what they want. Rather they must learn to create ways to get what they want–it is their responsibility to keep their eyes on “their prize.”

Frequently, young children ask me, “Why do I have to do anything your way?” I always answer them honestly as I can. Which is, “Because I created an opportunity for you to learn something new–you can go home and do it your way after this session.” When visiting schools, I often add, “I was paid to be here, why would someone pay me to teach you what you already know?” They usually decide to learn whatever it is I am teaching. Many times after they follow directions and attempted a project, if there is time, I let them do it their way.

A young artist participates in an Art Play Date in February.

My “Art Play Date” allows me to share the knowledge I attained much later in my life–knowledge I feel would have been very valuable to have known at a younger age. I have always loved receiving information as a foundation to better navigate life. Believing that there are others like me, younger and older, my gallery’s “Art Play Date” opportunities are my way to share creative freedom from other people’s opinions. This freedom has allowed me to create unabashedly. Because we still have many opportunities to access creative outlets in Wisconsin, we must make sure that we support them by utilizing them.

–Evelyn Patricia Terry


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