Each Fall Frogs Are Green hosts a Kids’ Art Contest. It gives me such a thrill when hundreds of children from around the world answer that call.
These children are enrolled in after school art programs. Their parents must realize how important it is to enrich their child’s education and encourage them to express themselves through art.
I grew up in Queens, New York, and my parents enrolled me in ballet and piano lessons, and my father, an accountant by day and an artist by night, would sit with me and teach me how to draw a house or a tree. He was so excited when I chose art as my career and began my higher education at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
My brother and sister and I were introduced to a thriving cultural world. We would get dressed up and head into New York for the circus, Ice Capades, ballet, museums, Broadway theater and opera. This gave me a rounded appreciation for the arts that I still feel.
Is this culture missing in children’s lives today?
I will tell you that the submissions to the 2013 contest yielded 450 entries, but only a few came from the USA. My only conclusion is that children in this country are not being taught arts appreciation the way I was decades ago. Is this due to the digital age of games and apps, or the economy and arts classes/programs being cut? When children spend their days watching TV and playing games that others have created, and they are not learning how to express themselves, this will hurt them later in life. I’m sure of it.
When I see the artwork that comes in from kids between 3 and 12 from Estonia, Australia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, South Africa, Macedonia, Serbia, India, China and so many other countries it’s clear from their skills that they are not learning just about art but conveying their own personal messages about the state of the environment and how they feel about frogs. The USA is just not seeing how important this ability to self-express is, and so it must change for the next generation.
I’m happy to share that The Distillery Gallery & Artspace in Jersey City, New Jersey does have art classes for kids (as do a few other places here) on Saturday mornings, and it is partnering with Frogs Are Green to bring our “Green Dream” to life and show why children need this education in their lives.
Opening on April 4 and running through April 27, “Green Dream” will be an International Children’s Earth Day Exhibition. It will be the first time Frogs Are Green is showcasing the amazing artwork received over the years. Many of the works will be hung on the walls and a digital projector will show hundreds more. The children in The Distillery art classes will also be showing their frog pictures and are creating flower pots.
I hope you will celebrate with us on Earth Day (4.22), Save the Frogs Day (4.26) and join us with your children for this extraordinary event. If you would like to learn more and support this effort to increase environmental awareness and heal the planet, visit the Indiegogo campaign here:
Video by Brandon Somerton, Filmmaker