Artful solution

Lydia has written about her new art class on her blog with pictures.
Below is from a mother’s perspective.

Lydia loves art. Every free moment finds her either reading or sketching. Therefore, we earnestly prayed for an art class possibility for her. After all, we do live in the cultural capital of Russia. In October an opportunity presented itself at the International Academy. Lydia enjoyed class because it was in English, and she hoped to meet some other kids her age. Unfortunately, this proved more of a craft class (not “real” art instruction) and socializing was not in the curriculum. The trek to the school each week was substantial as well. The payoff didn’t seem worth it when Lydia’s attitude remained lukewarm at best.

Each region of St. P has art, music, and sport facilities for after-school instruction. Many offer classes for serious students, some to the tune of 15 hours per week. Once we learned of an art school down the street, Lyle decided to investigate by observing a class. I couldn’t wait to hear his report. Russian instruction in any subject can be strict and uncreative. I once observed a teacher taking magic markers and begin “correcting” student art work. I cringed at the thought. Would it be too much to ask for a nurturing environment? We were hopeful this would be an opportunity for quality art instruction AND Russian language practice AND socializing. Jackpot!

Although nervous during her first class, Lydia came home beaming. I teared up as she described how welcoming the teacher and students were. Several girls clustered around her and wanted to “be her friend” right away. And the art experience was a hit too. Lydia’s first still life painting surprised even her! She rattled on about the teacher and the “inspiring” (her words, really) art room decor. Lydia now has more professional art supplies and thoroughly enjoys her class every Tuesday and Thursday. Lyle only attended her first class to help with initial translating. Since then, Lydia has been going solo.

As a mom watching her child struggle to transition into this culture and language, this art class is as a big answered prayer. We love hearing about how she tried to create a certain color with her paints, or how the teacher demonstrated how to make a certain background. Our Lydia has been happier and more confident in recent weeks, and I know the art class is a big contributor to her improved outlook on life.

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