Gifts for Artists and Musicians

One of the things that get cut in a bad economy are the Arts — schools cut art and music classes rather than sports. One way to counteract this economic Grinch effect is to provide kids and kids at heart with the tools they need to practice their craft of choice. Luckily, it doesn’t have to break the bank.

  • If there’s a kid in your life who loves trombone, clarinet, violin, and you know the family can’t afford lessons, see if you can get other family members to help you cover the cost — maybe split it up so each person covers one day’s lesson.
  • Match sheet music to the musical taste of budding performers — sheet music from Wicked or Pirates of the Caribbean may fill a young musician with joy.
  • Paintbrushes, sheets of disposable palette paper, and refills of paint colors that get used up quickly (for instance, titanium white) are welcome additions to any painter’s studio. Ditto for pastels, kneaded rubber erasers, and tortillions for other artists.
  • If they’re learning to draw, provide them with art pencils, colored pencils, and paper.
  • Little artists need refills of paper for painting easels, child safe paints, inexpensive brushes, glitter glue, crayons, and modeling clay.
  • Teens might enjoy a book on drawing cartoons and caricatures, along with some of the tools mentioned in the book.

And, of course, give the gift that’s free — encouragement. If your niece or nephew want to play their violin, drum, or clarinet after dinner on Christmas Day, sit and really listen. If they want to show you their latest artworks, smile and look for things you can identify and talk about (like color choice, if the art is abstract). Remember — even really great performers like Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma, and Marian Anderson and famous artists like Mary Cassatt probably needed encouragement when they were young.

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