On Tuesday, October 20, Story School’s third through fifth graders traveled to local artist and art gatherer Neltje’s home to take part in her Living With Art program. The program is a wonderful expression of Neltje’s generosity and desire to help children see the magic in art and the premise that “unfettered minds imagine new realities”. Neltje’s assistant, David Schreiber took the children on a tour of the ranch’s grounds, studio, and inside the home to see (and even touch!) the art that Neltje has gathered during her extensive world travels.
Throughout the tour, Mr. Schreiber explained the philosophy behind Neltje’s art and displays. He explained how she surrounds herself with things that make her feel good and that “have magic in them”, which is, he says, a defining characteristic of all art. Students certainly seemed to agree. Oohs and aaahs abounded throughout the tour, as new wonders seemed to lurk around each corner. From a 50 ft outdoor metal sculpture to a playful basset hound; African spears to antique Turkish Kilim rugs; an ornate metal crank toothpaste squeezer to a primitive wooden pillow, nothing was off limits during the tour provided students listened closely and asked before touching. Their imaginations were truly set afire.
At the conclusion of their explorations, students returned to the studio where their tour began. Mr. Schreiber rolled out 30 feet of paper and poured colorful pens and crayons all over the floor. He then brought out snacks for everyone to enjoy and gave the children strict instructions to “draw what makes you happy.” Newly emboldened by the artistic creations they recently experienced, they did just that. Story School sends a deep and heartfelt thanks to Neltje, Mr. Schreiber, Neltje’s canine tour guides, and everyone who made this field trip possible.