"The connections that children make and the worlds they build when making art is truly magical."
Artist Christopher Daharsh on his childhood easel and the artistic influence of his grandmother.
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CMA's end-of-year artwork sale raises essential funds for free arts education in NYC schools whose arts programs have been decimated by recent budget cuts.
These works – starting at $100 – have been generously donated by celebrated artists who uphold our belief that all children are artists deserving of the materials, access, and encouragement to allow their creativity to soar.
Below, meet contributing artist Christopher Daharsh.
Christopher as a young artist
Do you have a favorite memory of making art as a child?
I remember being supported by my parents as an artist from a very young age. My dad is an artist so I got a lot of encouragement from him. I remember this technicolor child's easel I got for my birthday one year that I loved so much…It folded down to a table and even had storage for a big pad of paper and supplies. I remember setting it up in the kitchen and drawing for hours with my parents doing chores or drawing and painting with me. I was never given coloring books…only blank paper and canvas.
What advice would you give to young artists who wish to pursue an art practice?
Follow your instincts, keep learning every single day, and make work that inspires you to make more. Dive deeper, and find yourself.
Christopher painting during a workshop at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE
How does working with children inspire you?
I taught children's art classes in Kansas City just after college and loved seeing how free and inventive children's imaginations can be. The connections they make and the worlds they can build when making art is truly magical.
When did you first know you were going to be an artist?
I was privileged to have grown up around art from the start; it was always a given. I always dreamt about being an astronaut or scientist, but I knew I wanted to be an artist when I realized I could draw and imagine those worlds (and new ones) through art.
Can you describe a formative experience visiting a museum or gallery?
I remember my grandma taking me to the Denver Contemporary Art Museum as a child and seeing installation art for the first time. I was amazed by the power that art had in all forms – small, large, rectangular or unbounded – to impact someone's experience and perspective. My grandma studied art history in college so a lot of encouragement and opportunities came from her as well.
oil on linen over panel