27 Apr
Fri / 2018

Glassell School of Art—Perspectives: The Irwins, a Glassell Junior School Family

For the past 13 years, several days a week, Amy Irwin has completed a 50-mile roundtrip into Houston to drop her children at the Glassell School of Art’s Junior School— a trip, she says, that the family “doesn’t hesitate to make.”

To the Irwin family—which includes current and former Glassell Junior School students Will (19), Cassidy (17), Zac (8), and Bella (8)—the Glassell School has provided a “quality education, unmatched anywhere.” I caught up with Amy about her family’s experience and what they’re looking forward to in the new building, which hosts its first semester of Glassell Junior School classes beginning this summer.

Parents Leland and Amy Irwin with children, left to right: Zac, Bella, Cassidy, and Will
Parents Leland and Amy Irwin with children, left to right: Zac, Bella, Cassidy, and Will

What impact has the Glassell School of Art made on your family?
We started our children at the Glassell School when they were young, for creative enrichment. We quickly saw that they were learning much more than how to paint! They have learned how to view things in different perspectives, to take risks, to be seen, and to observe and take in the details that make the world around them special. For twins Zac and Bella, who both have familial tremors, art classes have been wonderful for helping them work on fine motor skills. Our classes at the Glassell School mean many evenings at the MFAH, which is another blessing. We have learned so much together and have grown to appreciate all kinds of art.

Do the kids have any favorite classes?
Will’s favorite is painting; he counts his painting instruction as invaluable and recalls Mr. Richard Williams and Mr. Ken Mazzu for the chances they encouraged him to take in his work. Cassidy took a watercolor class that was her favorite—as we expected, she fell in love with it. She also loves pottery now, thanks to Ms. Sharon Dennard. The twins couldn’t even use scissors well when they started Ms. Bonnie Van Hook’s class. That quickly changed. Through the magic of storybooks and motivating projects, they pushed themselves to create!

Have your kids been inspired to pursue art outside of Glassell School walls?
Will and Cassidy usually have an art project in progress. They have volunteered to paint murals on school walls, and they both still paint and create outside of school. They have hopes of being in a gallery one day!

Bella and Will Irwin, drawing together
Bella and Will Irwin, drawing together

What is your family most looking forward to in the new building?
We keep hearing about the rooftop—the kids can’t wait to sketch up there! I’m excited about the additional space for more classrooms, and of course, more parking.

The Glassell School of Art; The Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza; and the BBVA Roof Garden open to the public on Sunday, May 20! The Glassell Junior School’s first semester in the new building begins in summer 2018, with Glassell Studio School classes for adults beginning in fall 2018. Learn more