The Innovation Underground Welcomes the SEAD Academy!

Last week we kicked off our first ever SEAD Academy classes, and if the smiles on the faces our inaugural students were any indication, they were a hit. Classes this summer are being led by local artist, Le Hale. As I stepped into the room to see what was underway, I could sense that I had crossed a threshold. I was no longer in the basement of the old Federal Building. No, I had entered another world entirely, full of energy and enthusiasm from both Le and the kids.

Le explained to me that they were wrapping up some projects and beginning to move on to their next skill. All around the room, careful hands were applying broad strokes of color to canvases. These broad strokes are a technique used in “painterly” style paintings. The term “painterly” references a style of painting where paint is applied in such a way that each brush stroke is visible to the eye. The intention of this technique, Hale reminds her little artists, “is to let the viewer’s eye do the work.” Though “painterly” may not be a term many are familiar with, the style of painting is closely associated with “impressionist” painting, which focuses more on capturing the essence of something rather than attempting to recreate it.

Van Gogh is considered by many the father of the painterly style for his use of the technique in works such as “Starry Night” and “Sunflowers.” As I browse their workspace, many of the children are working intently on their versions of floral themed still-life painterly pieces. Hale instructs the children to remember: “the trick is to keep from mixing the paints too much – you want each layer of color to dry before adding another one.”

Le’s direction does not fall on deaf ears. It is often said that “children are sponges” and this group is no different. As I circled the room one last time, I am impressed with how deftly they are applying their newly acquired skills. Admiring their work, I couldn’t help but muse that some day in the not so distant future – one of these kids might be a featured artist in a gallery like SEAD’s.