Fred Babb's expressive colors, powerful statements and dynamic compositions makes him one of my favorite artists. Unfortunately, Fred died in 2006. I would have like to have met him. He stood for everything I believe art should be; an extension of oneself that is not necessarily taught, but understood. I try to remember this each time I walk into my classroom and face the little individuals that we often clump together as a whole. I try to remember that each child has a story. Each child has an expression.
I don't always maintain this level of thinking. Often I succumb to the pressures of classroom management and parent expectations. At times, I'm a slave to the minutes on the clock, finishing the project, encouraging the kids along.
But when I browse through my collection of Fred's Art (check out his website here), he slows me down. Reminds me of why I'm here. Nudges me to think in broad terms. Tells me to remember the most important thing of all: don't let yourself be the reason kids abandon art. Be the reason why they embrace it...for life.
Here is a sampling of inspirational pieces from my third and fourth graders...