Mary McKinney Says “Hello, Yellow!” with a New Studio Project

by Monica Hoel
Mary McKinney is diving into yellow….and she’s tickled pink.

Logo for hello yellow art studio Mary has a master’s degree in arts integration, and she has loved teaching art to kids at Combs Elementary School in Raleigh. But she’s always wanted her own business, and that dream is coming true as she opens a process-based art studio for kids called “Hello Yellow.”

The idea of process-based art is to give kids experiences in art that allow them more freedom to create what feels like art to them. “For instance…I just had an event with a winter wonderland theme. I taught them a marbling technique, and gave them a variety of supplies – ribbon, paints, cardboard circles, fun scissors – and then let them create whatever they want within that theme.”

Mary says not having a completed project to “copy” takes the pressure off trying to create something that feels like it needs to be “perfect.” Kids can create art without comparing their work to what someone else is doing. They get idea instruction on how to use a variety of mediums and materials and tools, but then they have freedom to do what they wish.

She’s tried this method of teaching in the classroom, and Mary says the response is “…unbelievable. Those are the days the kids have the most fun! Because there’s no expectation of what their finished product should look like, and they end up so proud of what they’ve created.”

Mary says that around 4th grade it seems that kids begin to freeze up around art. They have convinced themselves they either are an artist or they’re not. And if they think they aren’t an artist who can create perfect drawings and paintings, they lose self confidence in trying anything artistic. “I always tell my students that art is something that can be an outlet for you, you can express yourself, you can relax, and there is absolutely no right or wrong way to do art.”

The name for the studio comes from an exercise she does with kindergarteners. Where they dip each index finger into a little paint. “They put one finger in the yellow paint and say, ‘Hello, Yellow!’ then they put their other index finger in blue and say, ‘Hello, Blue!’” After that, the index fingers do a high five and make green.” She says her students get a kick out of saying, “Hello, Yellow!” so it seemed like a fun name for the studio.

She has only recently opened the new business, but says she is already getting calls from excited parents – some who want to bring budding artists, some who want to do creative birthday parties, and some who want their kids to be artistic, but they’re happy for Mary to deal with the happy mess of creative expression.

Enjoy a conversation with Mary on the Duck Pond Wall podcast that includes some great advice for parents of budding artists!

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1590-eamph-invited-back-to-coa-topics-range-from-bats"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/120,0,480,360/9216_bird.rev.1609964960.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/120,0,480,360/9216_bird.rev.1609964960.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/120,0,480,360/9216_bird.rev.1609964960.jpg" alt="Dr. Steven Hopp will talk about birds and birding. (This is a Common Yellowthroat.)" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="360" data-max-h="360" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1590-eamph-invited-back-to-coa-topics-range-from-bats">E&H Invited Back to COA: Topics Range from Bats to Barbershop!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> The Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center’s College for Online Adults has invited Emory & Henry to participate in their winter class. All classes are offered free of charge and online. E&H will offer six sessions! <a href="/live/news/1590-eamph-invited-back-to-coa-topics-range-from-bats" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/3236-eric-young-on-the-fine-art-of-being-county-administrato"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/94,170,415,491/14902_Eric_Young.rev.1699993408.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/94,170,415,491/14902_Eric_Young.rev.1699993408.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/94,170,415,491/14902_Eric_Young.rev.1699993408.jpg" alt="Man in suit next to flag" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="321" data-max-h="321" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/3236-eric-young-on-the-fine-art-of-being-county-administrato">Eric Young on the “Fine Art” of Being County Administrator</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Different strokes for different situations. But it was “brush strokes” that really won the hearts and minds of Eric Young’s neighbors.</p><a href="/live/news/3236-eric-young-on-the-fine-art-of-being-county-administrato" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2289-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-emily-bunn"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,382,382/11077_Picture2.rev.1648651634.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,382,382/11077_Picture2.rev.1648651634.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,382,382/11077_Picture2.rev.1648651634.jpg" alt="Austin Bunn E&H Class of 2014" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="382" data-max-h="382" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2289-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-emily-bunn">E&H Mass Comm Student Story: Emily Bunn spotlights Austin Bunn and their shared E&H legacy</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><em>This is part of a series of stories by members of the 2022 E&H Mass Comm 302 Class.<br/><br/></em>Home is where your family is: and for Austin Bunn (’14) that place was his college. <strong><br/><br/></strong> <a href="/live/news/2289-eamph-mass-comm-student-story-emily-bunn" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>