My husband, Kevin, and I launched the 'Main Street School of Music' in 2003. We have an interest in music as Kevin has a background playing guitar in the popular local band "Hollyfaith". He had achieved a moderate success with his band, scoring a major label record deal with Sony/Epic and touring internationally. I also had quite a bit of fun playing guitar in a couple of local Atlanta bands.
In January 2011 I added art classes to the mix and started 'Main Street School of the Arts' after a long career as a graphic designer. I have had a background in fine arts throughout my life. As a child I was drawing obsessively before I could walk or talk. My mother made sure that I had various papers, paints, charcoals, and pastels at my disposal, and I soaked it up. So, it was no surprise that I studied fine art and graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a B.F.A. in graphic design. I have always loved being a graphic designer, but never felt great about working solely for the sake of a corporation's bottom line. I felt the need to do something positive with my livelihood, something that makes a difference in the world, so I opened the art school.
I think it is important for students to realize that art is about culture, and that it happens in a social environment. I connect what they are learning to real-life experiences so that they develop a greater understanding and more in-depth knowledge of art. Dr. Samella Levis (artist, author, and former educator) said, “Art is not a luxury as many people think. It is a necessity. It documents history; it helps to educate people and stores knowledge for generations to come.” I find this to be true.
Early creative learning experiences are important. “Children are the designers and engineers of the adults they will become.” - Dr. Marvin Bartel, Ed.D. from “Learning and Assessing Imagination as Intelligence.” Using one’s imaginative capabilities through art during the developmental years is important for intellectual growth. Creative and divergent thinking capacities are refined during this critical phase. I think it is important to foster creativity and critical thinking, and teach life-long learning skills.
Gaining skills in art or music can have a real impact on children’s personal lives that goes beyond an arts role. Being good at something gives children a sense of self confidence that is carried with them throughout the rest of their lives. I believe artists and musicians never get away from the 'homework of the eye and the mind'. We dream art both at night and in our daydreams. We try to find ways to inculcate our students with artistic ways of seeing and thinking about all of life.