An enriching experience

Published 8:50 am Saturday, November 11, 2017

Did you know that the Austin ArtWorks Center offers low-cost art classes for kids age 4-14 every week?

The $5 Kids Studio takes place each Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Instructors and subjects vary each week which exposes youth to a broad perspective on visual art.

The structure is loose so that kids can “drop in” as their schedule allows vs. sequential lesson plans where missing a class puts a participant behind. Past class titles include basics like clay, watercolor, painting and mixed media as well as accordian fold books, watercolor self portraits, ribbon weaving, seed art, first nations dreamcatcher and polymer clay animals. Upcoming classes include Create Your Own City with recycled materials and Northern Lights with pastel chalk.

Email newsletter signup

The Austin Area Commission for the Arts is able to offer these classes at a $5 cost because of special funding for youth art education from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council and a donor, the late Ruth Wunderlich. This support helps us provide art education to more children of all income levels.

Families with several children find it more affordable to send all the children to art class. Families are also more able to afford regular attendance at class – weekly vs. monthly.

Children participating in art classes gain new perspectives on the world and the history of art; practice creativity and problem-solving; gain aesthetic awareness and visual observation skills; explore their own thoughts and emotions through art; and learn the power of self-expression. By taking home the artwork that they created, children also share their knowledge and exposure to a variety of mediums and artists with their families. Art education is also a forum where children can learn about diversity and gain respect for cultures and traditions that differ from their family of origin.

Arts education builds fine motor and visual-spacial skills, decision-making skills, independence of thought, and creativity. These skills are highly valued in the modern workforce. Studies show that young people who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement than children who do not participate (Americans for the Arts).

We first started offering $5 Kids Studio in the fall of 2016 and since then, 44 percent of the sessions were filled to capacity. We now offer the ability to join a wait list for these popular classes which allows us to notify students of new openings and also helps us document demand for future grant funding requests.

To register your child (or grandchild) for $5 Kids Studio, go to and browse the schedule under “Classes.” All are welcome!

Coming soon at the Paramount Theatre

•Nov.  15: $5 movie “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” 7:30 p.m.

•Nov. 17: Billy McLaughlin and Simple Gifts, 7:30 p.m.

•Nov. 22: $5 movie “Tommy Boy,” 7:30 p.m.

•Nov. 24: Jane Taylor Dance: “The Nutcracker,” 7:30 p.m.

Coming soon at the ArtWorks Center

•Nov. 24: Gallery opening: Member Show featuring lila Taft, 5 p.m.

•Nov. 30: Polymer Clay Snowflake Ornaments with Layl McDill, 5:30 p.m.

Find out more at