Is the Weatherford Art Association (WAA) hosting the next Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Warhol or O'Keeffe?
Kathy Cunning, WAA’s Vice President of Shows and Publicity, says it’s a little too early to tell but hopes so.
The WAA, in just its second year of offering an Art Camp for youth, began classes on June 9 that last eight weeks through the summer and end on Aug. 11. Students meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and Cunning said the $12 tuition helps pay for any materials needed and that the schedule works around the members who teach regular classes at the gallery.
“A lot of the materials are donated by members and the teachers are all volunteers,” she added. “This year, we have several high school students that have volunteered to assist during the classes. This helps so much and it looks good on their transcripts for college.”
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Cunning said midway through the morning, the kids get a break about 10 a.m. where they receive a snacks and drink as a “break” or “recess.”
“Last year, we had 10 students per week and had to turn many away but this year we offered two classes and broke the age groups up to 6-9 and 10-12,” Cunning said. “This makes it easier on the teachers and we can get more kids involved so this year we have grown to 20 kids per week.”
Each week, what the children learn is different as teachers make their own lessons and teach to what they know.
“Many are not trained educators so they teach within their strengths as artists,” Cunning added. “[Last] week, the little ones learned about Michelangelo and actually did drawings under the tables and both classes did tie-dyed shirts.”
Cunning said they are also doing printmaking, Japanese crafts and drawings.
“[This] week, it'll be different,” Cunning said. “Even if the same teacher teaches two weeks, we vary the lessons because the kids can take up to three weeks of classes. This way their is no repeat.
“We have collected lots of lessons from various sources that are in a notebook that teachers can look at, modify and use.”
The reason for the classes came after much deliberation.
“We brainstormed last year as to what we could do to make ourselves and the Firehouse Gallery more visible in the community,” Cunning added. “Since there are no art classes in the elementary grades unless the classroom teacher decided to include it, we chose to make the classes available to the little kids.
Cunning said there’s “quite a bit of difference” if someone comes in in the morning as opposed to later on after the children get working.
“You would see a quiet, sleepy-eyed bunch of kids,” she said. “But, as the morning progressed, they are talking, helping each other and getting excited; that's the fun part of teaching.”
She said they have a great team of people in WAA that make this possible.
“We worked around each other’s schedules and members step up and pitch in. It's a great feeling,” Cunning said. “The parents that come in are so appreciative for these classes and some even bring in healthy snacks for the kids.”