At Sawyer we have the privilege of working with hundreds of inspiring educators around the country. Whether they teach virtual classes or in-person activities, the curricula always foster enriching atmospheres for children of all ages to discover their love of learning. We got the opportunity to chat with Sweet Ridge Studios, which offers art classes and camps for children and teens in the Denver area.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us! I’d love to hear a bit more about you and why you started your business.
I started Sweet Ridge Studios to share the healing and transformative power of art with everyone! Art lifts us up and helps us find our home, we heal by making and evolve in creating. Our programming provides safe places to be who we truly are at a soul level while creating in communion with others. We’re in our 8th year and it has been a marvelous and joyful adventure to date!
Can you describe an inspiring moment you’ve had as an educator?
During the summer, in the first year of the pandemic, we held art camps, but in much smaller numbers and with much more space between us all! At the end of camp I found this note on one of my student’s chairs: “Dear Mrs. Melinda, You are amazing! Even when everything is all wonky your class is so fun (smiley face) Thanks, Acadia” It was exactly the reassurance I needed that we were still following our guiding light and bringing people together to heal with art.
What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching children?
The “Aha!” moment is what I live for in educating children. When you are teaching a new concept, technique, or process and the connection from not knowing to now knowing is made and a child's eyes light up, their imagination kicks into high gear and they skip off to create, is absolute delight!
What’s one time a child surprised you and made your day?
A summer art camp student told me, after I had made a comment about her gorgeous artwork, that I should have my own art show on TV where I explain to everyone what is strong and beautiful about a piece of artwork!
On a similar note, what’s the funniest thing a child has done in your class?
Students literally make me laugh everyday! I have a section in my monthly newsletter that is entitled “Favorite Kid Quote” to pay homage to exactly this. My most recent favorite is a student who taught me how to cut a cheese stick into smaller pieces and cook it in the microwave to make cheese curds. Her words: “Homemade cheese curds, they’re my speciality!”
Why is after school/extracurricular enrichment so important for children?
Kids need to be engaged with hands-on activities and other people. They need the interaction to develop social skills and the hand-mind engagement to grow their brains, bodies and imaginations in balanced and whole ways.
How do you think children can discover their passions when they’re not in school or your programs?
By being curious about everything! We at Sweet Ridge Studios embrace in all our teaching that by positively rewarding curiosity lifelong learners are born.