What might be a misshapen piece of clay to one viewer is a treasured piece of art to a family member.
And what looks like a summer art class might be creative therapy for a child with special needs or family issues at home.
So Dancing Spirit Community Arts Center offers free art classes to students of all ages this summer. Classes are every Tuesday and Thursday starting at 9:30, through Aug. 1.
“Art is a great way for kids to express themselves,” said Kasey Correia, director at Dancing Spirit. “It involves math, science, measurements and perspective. It stimulates the brain’s neuropathways for expression in a positive way.”
On Tuesday, six kids started the class in Ignacio, creating inuksuks, which are piles of rocks used by northern Native American tribes as markers for directions or hunting. By the end of the two sessions, the class had grown to 12 students.
“We use art as therapy, and also for fun,” Correia said. When children feel free to create something from their own imaginations, “they learn what freedom means.”
As many as 29 students have taken part in the classes on one day.
The classes have been funded by an education grant from the LPEA Round Up Foundation, along with the money booth at Sky Ute Casino, and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. In addition to the art classes, members of the Boys and Girls Club of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe come during the week for art classes.
“I love teaching the art classes,” Correia said. “Where do they get these ideas? Kids don’t know we’re giving them tools for them to grow as individuals, to be empowered.”
And yes, with a couple of dozen kids, sometimes things get chaotic, “but it’s orderly chaos,” Correia joked. “But look at what those kids made today! It’s awesome that they can paint and glaze and create.”