Friday, July 18, 2008

Uniforms, Paychecks, Computers, and the Monster of Criticism

from left: Lawrence Frater, Tiara Cannon, Danielle Sanders, Mikael Luter, the Monster of Criticism, Clara Forrest (kneeling), Demetrius Cooper, Savanna Pryor, and Michael Baker.

We are at the end of our second week! Note the nifty uniforms! Paychecks were distributed for the first week, as well as suggestions about banking it and using it for things like computers and flash drives
(Mikael shared info about checking accounts just for teens)

This week we have been writing on more topics (mainly about people and events). We did some "people watching" in Red Arrow Park and Einstein's bagels, and actually read the New York Times and the Journal/Sentinel each day. Apprentices have also been searching the Internet (when computers are available) for advice about revising and workshopping drafts. Since we have only had occasional access to two computers which are shared with other offices, we have had to be creative about making copies of work to share in groups. (If anyone out there would like to donate laptops and/or flash drives to ArtWorks for our apprentices, it would be very much appreciated!)

I joked about this sculpture on the patio being "the monster of criticism." Of course, the point of critiquing, giving feedback and workshopping creative work is to make it better. I guess I could have called it "the monster of feedback," but that doesn't have the same ring! Apprentices are learning the important, but difficult skills of both giving and receiving feedback on creative work.

The poems they have been producing over the past two weeks are still works in progress. Apprentices are given a prompt, they freewrite, and then start to shape a draft according to the elements of poetry: metaphor, line, and sound. We read both professional examples and the work of other teens, as published in Chicago's Gallery 37 books.

When responding to a fellow apprentice's work, they are not allowed simply to say "I like it, " or 'it's good." They are learning to be specific, analytical, and truly helpful to one another. I also do not allow statements like "It's fine. Don't change a thing." I tell them about W.H. Auden's statement that poems are never finished, just abandoned!

Next week we will continue to revising process and will start to move into the editing process, as the eight apprentices will transform into an editorial board, selecting the best three poems of each apprentice! More about this next week!

Kathleen Dale
Lead Artist

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