We’re entering the last week of ART FUN 2015. There’s no amount of planning that can let you know what a program with kids, paint and a bit of time will accomplish. Some came at the beginning, some joined us at the end, and each child has left their mark on the program. Some have done so through their questions, other through their quiet inquisitiveness and many through their joyful energy.
Each day in ART FUN children are invited to put on a costume, and draw or read as we wait for everyone to arrive. Once we begin each child chooses a workspace at The Campfire and is told the activity for the day. They’ve come to understand though, that each activity is a thoughtful suggestion, as the kids are welcome to create what they choose with the materials and time given.
One way we emphasize this is through The River and The Forest. These are two spaces at ART FUN the children are always allowed to ask to visit. The Forest is decorated in branches, green flooring, white lights and books. It’s a place for quiet, to get away and chat quietly. The popularity of the space led to the creation of The River. This is an even more relaxed space, where there’s no talking, more resting, and pastels to draw with. Both spaces are used frequently throughout the program. As one child said, “I like it here at ART FUN because, it’s not that you can do whatever you want, but you get to choose”. I was happy to hear he understood the balance myself, and local artist Kim Edgar, have been trying to offer. It’s come from a desire to have the program be something beyond instruction-led activities to being an opportunity to lay the foundation for artistic skills. Knowing when to take a break, seeing what can be done with the materials provided and seeing what comes one step beyond not knowing what to do next.
Each week has been different, and built upon the last, weaving paint, clay, paper and ink into stories of the children’s creations. It’s a reality that the colors of these weeks will remain only as faded fragments in the children’s memories. But for those of us in the role of creating the program, we’re happy with the moments we’ve seen children focused on construction and moments of play. It’s a few weeks that we will remember.
I look forward to seeing where this final week takes us, and to celebrating the last moments with all the ART FUN children and dedicated parents who have been involved this year. It’s parents that know the importance of this type of work and who have encouraged their kids to join in who make this program such a success.