Students constantly ask, if I’m going to keep their artwork, if they don’t take it home. My standard reply is that the art room is not a museum. Still, some insist they give me some little piece of “artwork” scribble on free draw paper and say, “This is for you… I made it for you… Promise that you’ll keep it - always”.
Sigh – fine!
As I was on one of my cleaning frenzies in the art room I noted all the “things” that I had up, or found “special” places for things that students had given me. I began to wonder why. Why do I have so much stuff?
Why do I get to be the keeper of little drawings, some done with care others quickly done as if an afterthought, but truly a meaningful gesture? Why do some students take pains to give me one of their polished stones from their collections or a special knickknack found along their way to school?
Then it hit me – They want to be remembered. They want to have a legacy that says something to those students who come after them. Isn’t this what I’ve been telling students for – ever? ‘What you do matters!’ Everything that you do or say has an impact upon someone – make it a positive impact!’
So I have notes, drawings, trinkets, toy pieces, origami hearts, coins, even a toy bowling alley, and more, all about the art room – each one attached to a different student, with a story, with a little bit of themselves left behind for me to remember them. The art rooms holds their moment in time, that was well spent and remembered.
I am truly fortunate that I get to be a keeper of this type of Smithsonian Museum. I do keep pictures, toys, “gifts” that students ask me to keep, because I do understand that they need to be tethered between worlds, until they are ready to move on. It’s neat when they return to see if I kept it up. It’s neat to see that they’re all grown-up and leaving even bigger legacies and realizing that others really are watching what they do, because they are examples – real-time legacies.