Michael Carini of Carini Arts teaching art to local middle school students in San Diego

Michael Carini Shares His Love For Art With A Lesson At Local Elementary School

Yesterday I was blessed with an opportunity to teach an art lesson to 6th graders at a local elementary school. It was a humbling reminder of how lucky I am to do what I do, as well as the difference I can make by doing it. This journey has been a little tough lately, but yesterday was one of those rewarding days that reminded me why I do what I do. It's been a little while since I've taught in a classroom setting, and I was quickly reminded just how much I love sharing what I love with young and open minds. I hope those students enjoyed it as much as I did, because while trying to teach them a lesson, I feel like they taught me a valuable one.

Michael Carini teaching art and sharing his passion at local elementary school

When I teach in a classroom setting, I don't always know the students or the available resources going in. I also usually have a small time window, so I'm always prepared to make it work with whatever I've got on the fly. I learned that lesson from my own journey as an artist. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the facility was, the quality & amount of art supplies they had (because many schools don't have an art program anymore), and how respectful and receptive the students were. It was a nostalgic moment that put me back in their shoes for a moment.

Michael Carini art classes for students in San Diego

I've been blessed with some great art teachers, but I've heard some horror stories about some that completely turned people off to art for the rest of their lives. Knowing this, I go in with an approach of inclusion and zero judgment. My lessons are just about finding yourself, whatever that means. I decided that we would do a self portrait, working with whatever supplies were available. On one side, students were asked to depict how they see themselves. On the other side, they were asked to depict how they think other people see them. They were encouraged to experiment, explore, and not worry about what their neighbor was doing. They were told it wasn't about good or bad, it was just about sharing their story. I thought this would be a great reflective and introspective creative exploration for students this age, an opportunity to help them feel seen. It was really exciting to see them navigate this creative lesson, and I was pleasantly surprised with how many questions they asked and effort they made. 

Michael Carini teaches art at local elementary school in Southern California

When I teach, there are no grades. There is no right and there is no wrong. It's just about expression. It's about letting go and trying to find yourself. This is something I still do for myself in the studio, even after decades of pursuing this dream. I know not all of these students are particularly interested in art, but I hope they enjoyed this experience. I hope it opened them up to the possibility of enjoying and appreciating art. If someone in that class does have a spark of interest in being an artist, I hope I was able to nourish that with my encouragement and by sharing a bit of my story. Some of those students may have needed an art day yesterday, but I think I may have needed it too.


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