With August approaching, itll soon be time to start thinking about school, but kids are sure to resist. One way to ease the transition and provide some needed structure is to enroll them in art classes at the Durango Arts Center.
August is for Art is a month-long programming series offering visual-art classes for kids ages 6-11 in the mornings and ages 12 and older in the afternoons.
Spanning the spectrum of visual arts, class offerings include screen printing, dream-time dot paintings, plaster casting and figure and perspective drawing. The classes are geared to expose kids to new mediums and allow them to explore.
They are process-oriented, not product-oriented, said DAC Education Coordinator Sandra Butler. The goal is to give kids a taste of different techniques and help them build skills.
The focus on technique and skills is key to developing confidence. Younger kids generally have a healthy dose of esteem, and they are eager to show off their talent. Around age 10, kids start losing the confidence of youth, Butler said. Keeping that self-confidence is the impetus behind her programming.
We arent just playing with art materials but are building skills, she said. Anyone can learn how to draw. Neurons are firing, and there is a great capacity to learn anything.
Half of all classes will be taught by Butler, whose expertise is in sculpture but who also is an experienced art educator. She has been teaching art classes and art appreciation for the last 15 years to all ages and levels of ability.
Visual artist Rebecca Barfoot will teach painting and pottery classes, and art educator Lynn Millar will teach classes, as well.
Every Tuesday through Friday starting Aug. 3, a different art class is planned. Each class runs 2½ hours, with the younger kids classes scheduled from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and teenagers scheduled for 1 to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $30 per class and includes all materials. Class size is limited to 10 students, but Butler said there is no minimum.
Ill run a class with only two students just to get momentum, Butler said.
In her second month as the new education coordinator at the DAC, the August programming is an ambitious first project for Butler. She hopes to bring more kids in to the center and to generate more thrust for kids in the arts, especially teenagers. Younger kids have more community outlets in which to get involved, but there seems to be a gap for teenage opportunities, she said. Eventually, Butler would like to offer weekly after-school teen art classes and create a visual arts camp for summer 2011.
In line with the mission of DAC to program art classes for children, teens and adults as well as artist lectures and workshops educational opportunities are expanding this fall. With the Childrens Museum moving into its new location at the Powerhouse in September, the upstairs of the Arts Center will be transformed into workshop space for adult classes.
Karin L. Becker teaches composition at Fort Lewis College. Reach her at becker_K@fortlewis.edu.