The unique touch: literacy through art

By Mariana Alarcón

The program we have been teaching at the Little Picasso Workshop is called Literacy Through Art. This was not a typical summer art school where young children are enrolled as a form of babysitting.

The children were taught to go into the beautiful flower garden (where the Rosewood Little Picasso Workshop took place — thanks to Christian Tavelli and the wonderful Rosewood staff). The children sat on a rock with a pencil and a notepad, listened to the birds or watched the butterflies hovering on flowers and meditated for their stories. They each came back with their unique stories and begin to draw while listening to the history of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Picasso and Van Gogh…

For one class we had the an art historian from the Sorbonne in Paris, Bea Aaronson, who taught them about Cubism and Dada and the origins of collage art with Cezanne and Picasso and Matisse.

On another day we had a bin full of recycled wood pieces,which had been cut into random shapes and forms. Each child went to the bin and picked his or her own supply and created animalitos that look like Mexican Alejibres (Mexican legendary animals). One child made a futuristic car that looked like a de Lorean, others made cats and dogs and castles and rockets. They were all excited because we didn’t tell them what to create. They created from their own imaginations and made their own stories. This is very important when you are a child and used to being told what to do 24/7…. they feel empowered with their own creation.

We added new activities daily so that the children would always learn new things from the program. For example we added a session on how to create useful things out of discarded materials like candy wrappers, pop can tabs, cereal boxes and tetra pack milk containers. It is a pleasure to instill in these young minds the respect and appreciation for nature, which they love.

How did the “Little Picasso at Rosewood” program develop? Christian Tavelli, the managing director of Rosewood San Miguel, is a visionary. Having visited the campo art classes with his own children, he believes in the benefits that art can bring to all children. So when the summer arrived, he and the Children’s Art Foundation’s founder, Hannah Jarmain, decided to hold the workshop for little Picassos in the beautiful garden of Rosewood.

All proceeds of the workshop have gone to support the children’s art classes in the campo. We are a non-profit organization and the only paid positions are the actual artist teachers. All others are volunteers who donate not only their time but also talents and passion for the cause, which they can contribute in many ways.

It is Jarmain’s hope that for some of the talented children to see their work on a canvas, being published in a book or being given a positive start will encourage their lifelong commitment to art.

CAF needs your help. Please contact us at: and if you are interested in volunteer opportunities we are taking calls now for classes starting in September. Children”s Art Foundation A.C

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