Resin’s Rafael McMaster Believes Art Provides Kids with Tools Even Greater than the Paintbrush

Getting creative.

  • Category
    Arts, People
  • Illustrated by
    Yasmine Kahsai

“Its a good thing that you are teaching my kids how to do art,” the mom said while dropping off her two boys at Resin, adding, “because I’m not creative.” It’s that last part—the limiting belief of “I am not creative” buried in her subconscious—that makes me realize the importance of giving our local youth creative confidence while they are young. And so I started Resin, a creative workshop in Hermosa Beach, where local youth ages 5 to 20 learn everything from spray painting to photography to hydro dipping. Don’t know what hydro dipping is? Just ask your kids …

“We’ve seen so many kids learn so much and just come to life. They connect to their creative selves. And they have fun doing it.”

But it’s actually not about teaching art. It’s about developing the creative self and getting connected—to yourself, your crew and the plane of subtle energy that resides just beneath the surface of everyday life. And over the last three years, our Resin workshop—a gallery, creative lab, classroom and studio space—has been a safe space for young minds to blossom. Ava Fielder (then a fourth grader) wrote for a school project, “I am a rock star at art.” Boom! Creative confidence.

Come any weekday and you’ll find a gregarious crew of bright, imaginative and wildly creative teenagers, all dressed in art-splattered lab coats. These are our teachers and volunteers, like Fiona Dowdee, a Mira Costa High School graduate about to embark on an international artist study in Florence in May. “Giving these kids the gift of art—it’s so fulfilling, and this studio environment is just magical,” she says. “We’ve seen so many kids learn so much and just come to life. They connect to their creative selves. And they have fun doing it.”

“I’ve seen amazing transformations firsthand where a student comes in and they’re really suffering, really dealing with something hard,” shares the youth program’s Aydyn Morgan. “They just want to escape those feelings. Shut off. Numb out. Run away. Through art, they’ve been able to process the pain, express it and connect to that bright light inside. They become inspired.”

By developing our kids’ creative selves, we are investing in a tool kit for our youth, whose strands of culture are being woven into a tapestry of sand, sea, pigments and pixels in this beautiful place we call home.