My two children have loved taking art classes with Deborah Wasserman at Art for a Start. Deborah is a terrific teacher, nurturing creativity while honing the child's skills. She conceives of wonderful projects that delight and inspire the children, while exposing them to a variety of media and styles of creation. Her projects run from the very basic joys of putting pencil to paper, or glue to recycled objects, to the sophisticated concepts of shading, layout and even some art history. The kids are inspired by their own dreams, fantasies and everyday life, as well as by the works of famous artists. Some of the projects run for several weeks and the complex products are amazing. For instance, a small drawing of a sea turtle becomes a painting, becomes a cut-out, become part of a fantastic glittery oceanic diorama filled with sea life, and ultimately becomes part of a large display of undersea dioramas together as a whole piece. And the piece is truly beautiful.
Deborah is a gifted teacher -- she is not only well-schooled in various styles of art, but she has a way with children. She knows how to give constructive criticism without damaging the artist's self-esteem or inflicting self-consciousness. She speaks to the kids with respect and sympathy, but does not give them false praise. I have seen the children grow under her direction. She is able to manage a group, while finding the time to focus on the individual as well. Most importantly, the children love her and look forward to her class each week.
Deborah goes out of her way to provide the children with special experiences as budding artists outside the classroom. For instance, she enrolled her class in a city-wide art competition several years running, and it was great for the kids to see their work displayed in a professional public venue. Several of her students even won the competition for their age groups, which says a lot and the quality of the artworks produced by her group. Deborah also arranged for the kids to display their work closer to home, in a neighborhood gallery and then in several local store windows. With each exhibit, the kids got a huge kick out of seeing their work displayed for the public, and it gave them a wonderful sense of accomplishment. The message that their creations are "good enough" to be shown to the world is a gift they were given by this thoughtful and dedicated teacher.
I also want to say that Deborah is not only a special teacher, but a very talented artist and a lovely person. It has been my great pleasure to know her, through my children, and I recommend her own artwork and her Art for a Start program to everyone I know.