A summer of traveling art; Traveling studio makes first stop in Austin

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Beth Hamilton started her class Monday morning with a simple question: “How many of you enjoy art?”

Every youngster in the room raised his or her hand eagerly in agreement.

“Me too, I love art,” Hamilton said.

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Hamilton, 23, led the first stop of this summer’s Mower County Libraries Traveling Studio at the Austin Public Library.

“They really gain a passion for art,” Hamilton said.

The Austin Area Commission for the Arts debuted the traveling trailer last year and decided to bring the classes back after getting strong responses from participants.

“It went really well,” Austin Area Commission for the Arts Director Jennie Knoebel said. “We got great feedback from people. And the classes in general were very full, especially in Austin and LeRoy and Grand Meadow.”

Hamilton taught a painting class last year with the traveling studio.

“It was so much fun getting kids active in the projects,” she said. “I’m so glad they invited me back.”

This time around, Hamilton decided to try a different form of art. About 20 children used polymer clay to make beads, which they can wear on necklaces or backpacks.

One aspect of the class Hamilton enjoys is that it introduces children to new art materials.

“Kids don’t usually have polymer clay and acrylic paint to use at home,” she said.

Diane Wangsness attended the class with three of her grandchildren and agreed it introduced the kids to unique materials.

“They’ve never used this kind of clay before,” she said.

Wangsness came across the class by chance when she brought her grandchildren, who were visiting from St. Paul, to the library for a visit. She thinks the experience is a good opportunity because they can learn something new.

“It opens them up to new ideas for creativity,” she said.

Ten-year-old Caden Strampe was a repeat participant of the studio. He attended Hamilton’s painting class last year, although he was excited to try a different kind of art.

“I’m a big fan of molding,” he said.

Caden already has hopes that the program will return again next year.

“This class is really fun and I hope to go to it next summer,” he said.

Next week, children can make mandalas with Sonja Slater. In two weeks there will be a creative artist class with Jenelle Cummings, followed by Painting with Kara Page the week of July 11.

The trailer will visit Brownsdale, LeRoy, Lyle and Grand Meadow each week as well, although it is not limiting itself to Mower County this summer. It has already made stops in Zumbrota, and will go to Wabasha July 18-22 and Lake City on Aug. 1-5.

The program is funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.

Classes are free and children must register by calling their local library.

Traveling art

studio schedule

•In Mower County, the Traveling Studio will run from now until July 15 at the following locations:

•Monday Mornings (June 13, 20, 27, and July 11) — Austin 10 and 11:15 a.m.

•Tuesday Mornings (June 14, 21, 28, and July 12) — Brownsdale 10:30 a.m.

•Wednesday Mornings (June 15, 22, 29, and July 13) — LeRoy 10 and 11:15 a.m.

•Thursday Afternoons (June 14, 21, 28 and July 12) — Lyle 2 p.m.

•Friday Mornings (June 17, 24, July 8 and July 15) — Grand Meadow 10 and 11 a.m.