Painting at the library; Monday kicked off traveling art studio
Published 10:28 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Easton Schmitz was excited to paint Monday during the traveling art studio at the Austin Public Library, but even more excited to work on birdhouses in a future Monday class.
Easton, 8, said he was happy to learn, “How to hammer good and how to paint good.”
Easton attended the first class from the Mower County Libraries Traveling Art Studio at the Austin Library Monday with his sisters, Emma, 7, and Isabella, 5. His mother Amber Schmitz hoped her children would gain some useful future skills.
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“Just some unique tools that they can find in art and be creative and be expressive about themselves,” she said.
The family heard about the art studio during a visit at the library.
“So we signed up, we thought we’d just try it out,” Amber said. “Something fun, something different.”
The traveling art studio will make stops at every library in Mower County with a different class each week. I.J. Holton Intermediate School art teacher John Sullivan had the idea to take art classes to where people may not have the opportunity to partake in these kinds of activities. There will be three more classes, including working with clay, decorating birdhouses and hula hooping. The art studio travels to libraries in Austin, LeRoy, Grand Meadow, Lyle and Brownsdale. Two classes are offered at the libraries each day. One for children ages 6-8, and the other for ages 9-11. The classes will run through Aug. 7.
For Chaz Bonorden, 5, Monday’s painting class was a fun way to paint some of his favorite activities.
“I’m trying to paint that pokeball,” he said, pointing at a toy from the popular series “Pokemon.” “Because I really like ‘Pokemon.’”
The children painted still-life objects set on a table in the middle of the room. They started by drawing the shapes and then adding the details. Chaz enjoys painting at home as well.
“Like, tractors and other stuff,” he said.
For 5-year-old Paisley Bergstrom, she hoped to learn how to paint animals. She already enjoys painting turtles and fish at home, and hoped to learn skills to paint things like snakes. Paisley’s mother, Becky Bergstrom, signed her daughter up because she already likes art and creating things, she said. Becky hoped the class would help Paisley continue to enjoy art.
“Just [have] fun and encourage her to want to keep doing art projects,” Becky said.
Art instructor and local artist Beth Ann Hamilton, 22, hoped the children would learn to love art even more through this class.
“Today they’re learning how to do their first painting still life,” Hamilton said. “I had no idea what to expect, and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve never set loose 20 kids on canvas before.”
She hoped to pass along the skill of seeing a shape and painting it on the canvas.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “Its fun to see students learning and being involved with the paint.”
The project stems from a partnership between Austin Area Commission for the Arts — the entity behind the ArtWorks Center and Paramount Theatre — and Riverland Community College. The project is funded by a Legacy grant from the Art and Culture Heritage Fund, and Courtney Wyant, the adult services librarian in Austin, wrote the grant in May. Wyant was glad to see so many children happy to paint.
“I think just hearing from parents and students that they haven’t done this type of art before, they just shared it was just really great because they’ve never had their child do like a still-life painting and watch them kind of create what they see in their minds,” Wyant said. “Whether it’s just looking at something or watching their creativity show, it’s exciting.”
Wyant also hoped the classes would not only get the kids’ interests peaked in art, but also that they might make a new friend.
Next week’s studio will be about hoola-hooping. Wyant said organizers tried to make the classes as well rounded as possible, so the kids could experience different types of art, such as performance or building, instead of only painting or drawing.
Talks have already begun on bringing the project back next summer and working to expand it to more areas. The classes are free and children must register by calling their local library.
Traveling art studios schedule
Mondays: Austin Public Library, classes at 10 and 11:15 a.m.
Tuesdays: Brownsdale Public Library, classes at 9 and 10:15 a.m.
Tuesdays: Lyle Public Library, classes at 2 and 3:15 p.m.
Wednesdays: LeRoy Public Library, classes at 10 and 11:15 a.m.
Fridays: Grand Meadow Public library, classes at 10 and 11:15 a.m.