Click here if you’ve not read part 1 of this blog series - How to Support and Stimulate Your Teenager with Their Art Studies, where we discuss how to encourage your teenager to find their passion in the contextual side of artistic study. In this second part, we will be exploring some alternative tools to help students with their artistic education.
Art Quarterly is a well established magazine subscription, which not only helps to introduce art history but can help readers gain insight into the art world and the huge variety of creative careers out there. It may be a little dry at times, so do have a search for ones aimed at more contemporary art audiences, or even younger people in general. UK Young Artists is great, and there are also a selection of magazines that incorporate art in their content: see here.
Email subscriptions from the main art galleries such as Tate and RA are great, as they have their own articles and research available. Artsy Editorial is another good regular one, that has heaps of pieces about a wide variety of subjects. You may even have some smaller galleries that you have found and liked, so sign up to their newsletters too!
Artist Studio Collective in Amsterdam
VOLUNTEERING & WORK EXPERIENCE
It may be that your child has to do a term of work experience or volunteering, either as part of the school curriculum or for a certificate, like the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Why not encourage their interest in art whilst accomplishing their required amount of hours!
My first volunteering position was at a studio collective, with an artist who was having a show in a few months time. It was just round the corner from my school, (which I now know was very lucky!), and once a week throughout the term I helped catalogue her work; create some advertising materials, and prepare for the exhibition’s private view. I also assisted with creating her website as well as other technological things. This is something that can easily be done and set up for your teenager. Just do a little research into local artists, studio collectives, or even art galleries in your local area, then a phone call or email can turn into some invaluable experience. I think it's a huge benefit to not just look at the painters and sculptors that we know of already, but out into the wider art world that supports these artists. Of course the issue of safeguarding comes into play, but have a think about who you know. Perhaps you have a friend (or friend-of-a-friend!) who is in the industry.
Established places such as museums or galleries may also have volunteering schemes already in place, which makes things much quicker and easier. I volunteered at the Dorich House Museum for two years whilst at university, as well as work experience at the Maritime Museum, which was a highlight! It has the beautiful Queen’s House in which thousands of artworks are displayed, where I was able to have work experience for a week with the loveliest curation team. I visited the restoration department, where I saw their huge collection of globes; some of Napoleon's jackets up close; the largest scale model of a ship in Europe, and all the paintings that are kept safely tucked away. Look on the websites of galleries and museums to find more information about what they might offer.
Your teens (most probably) have endless skills in technology and social media, exactly what some creatives and institutions are needing guidance in. Being able to help with posting on social media or how to take a good photo, means volunteering positions will be an exchange of knowledge. Plus the added bonus of it looking great on a university application, especially if they are looking at a creative degree.
Tulip Stairs at Queen's House, Greenwich.
I learned a lot through my time volunteering: it was amazing to see the genuine life of an artist, as well as gain understanding of the true amount of work behind the practise. They helped to shape me as a person, and gain a real understanding of the working world. At that age it's important to interact with adults and step out of your comfort zone as much as you can, with parents' support. Assisting your children in this way will not only help their artistic studies but help prepare them for the world ahead.
The main thing is to find something that will be enjoyable. I got the most out of my experiences because I was able to be a part of something I love. And this is a key aspect to any learning: to spark joy! To assist your child in their artistic studies is to help them find the aspect that they are most passionate about, and can therefore learn from. Be it physically painting; looking at art-masters in museums and galleries; volunteering at a sculpture park; researching contemporary artists in galleries; learning new printmaking techniques from a newsletter... the possibilities are endless. And so is the inspiration!