Faculty Spotlight: Alexis Kandra

Alexis Kandra has been a beloved and talented art teacher at Church Street School since 2013. This fall, you will find her teaching Afterschool Creative Arts Club and Toddler Visual Art. In the following interview, she discusses her unique training, exciting upcoming projects, and how her students inspire her.

Kandra-HeadshotGrace Rezendes (GR): When did you first get interested in art? Were you influenced by a certain person or experience?

Alexis Kandra (AK): I was first interested in art- well I guess it was for as long as I can remember. My mom says that when I was two years old, I was drawing, and I could understand the concept of layering things, like where you draw something behind another object. So because I was interested so early, I took a lot of art classes when I was little and continued to stay interested in it.

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The Eight Best Ways for Children to Learn About Art

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As I stood looking at an exhibit of toddler art on the wall of my school one day, the parent standing next to me said, “This rivals an installation at the Museum of Modern Art”. It was true; all of the elements of form color and texture were there, and not the work of a seasoned and acclaimed artists of our time, but rather created unselfconsciously by two year old children.

This is a testament to the creative spirit of all human beings, which can be seen most clearly in the creative prowess of a young child. The natural qualities of childhood are the building blocks of this creativity – their physicality, their openness, their present-ness, their insatiable curiosity. Read more

Creative Expression and Child Development

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At a recent get-together of parents, teachers, and community members interested in supporting the arts, we had a dynamic discussion about the importance of creativity in child development. Those of us from Church Street School for Music and Art stressed the three key reasons for the importance of creativity in our music and art classes – to introduce students to artistic process, to build their self-awareness and self-confidence, and to help them find their unique artistic voice.

All of those in attendance lamented the current state of education that emphasizes didactic approaches, memorization and test performance. We all agreed that such traditional approaches to education are more a source of anxiety for kids than of learning. We pondered together how to move the current culture of education forward, from the darkness of a system that focuses on performance and competition, into the light of a future where creativity and new ideas are prized. I think parents everywhere are pondering these same things. Read more

How to Inspire Your Child’s Creative Genius

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Young children are creative dynamos. They surpass adults in their openness to possibility and their willingness to explore without fear. If you give toddlers a drum they immediately create rhythms on it; if you give them paint and a brush they instantaneously drip and rub and mix. In my experience, when most adults sit down in the same kind of open-ended situation, they worry about what they are supposed to do.

Toddlers and preschoolers do not share that worry. They are unmistakably ‘in the moment’. They don’t yet have a firm understanding of the past or the future. While this may present challenges for parenting, it uniquely situates the child for exploration of art and music. As Picasso said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Read more

Adult Open House

Monday, October 27th
6:30pm – 8:30pm

Interested in picking up an instrument again, or getting back into the swing of making music and art? Have you been feeling a lack of creativity but feel like you don’t know where to begin? Come by Church Street School on for a FREE night of art, music, wine, nibbles and fun and learn out about our affordable and flexible schedule adult classes!
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Faculty Spotlight: Z Behl

Z Behl started at CSSMA as a student, but now works as an educator in the Creative Arts Club and 72 Teens programs, as well as adult figure drawing. In this interview with Jason Hoffman (JH), Z shares her art making process along with some incites on teaching art. Read more

Open Art in the Park

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Saturdays through the end of June, 11am to 2pm

Join Church Street School teachers for a FREE art project at the picnic tables in Washington Market Park every Saturday until the end of June. All ages welcome, parents or caregivers must accompany children for the duration of the project. In case of bad weather join us at Church Street School, 74 Warren St. We look forward to seeing you there!