Mesquite Kids “Get Smart With Art”

“Although some may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development,” stated Grace Hwang Lynch in an article published on the PBS Parents web site.

The first Get Smart with Art class was attended by 15 students on Sep 5. Tammy Nielson Symons, program director with the Virgin Valley Artists Association, helps students work on their Fantasy Art projects.  Fantasy Art is the first class in the nine month series aimed at developing art skills in children ages 8-16.  Photo submitted by Jean Wiensch, President VVAA.

The first Get Smart with Art class was attended by 15 students on Sep 5. Tammy Nielson Symons, program director with the Virgin Valley Artists Association, helps students work on their Fantasy Art projects. Fantasy Art is the first class in the nine month series aimed at developing art skills in children ages 8-16. Photo submitted by Jean Wiensch, President VVAA.

The Virgin Valley Artists Association feels the same way so they developed the “Get Smart with Art” program aimed at helping to develop a variety of art skills in children ages 8-16 years.

Classes are broken down into two categories: Children 8-11 years old and Children 12-16 and are scheduled twice a month, one class for each group.

According to the PBS article, the Virgin Valley Artists Association and Jean Wiensch, President of the VVAA, the developmental benefits of an art education are improved motor skills, decision making abilities, visual learning, inventiveness, cultural awareness and even improved academic performance.  Wiensch says, “Art really helps to create a well-rounded person.”

“Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievement. A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate” Lynch said in her article.

The first class was held for the children ages 8-11 on Sep. 5.  Fifteen children attended the class on “Fantasy Art”.  The kids were able to work on drawing fantasy creatures such as dragons and fairies using pastels and seemingly had a wonderful time.

Wiensch was thrilled with the attendance in the first class of the 2015 year but it was the class for the 12-16 year olds scheduled for Sep. 19 that made Wiensch think some changes had to be made.

The Sep. 19 class was cancelled due to a lack of students signing up to participate but that didn’t phase Wiensch for more than a couple of minutes before she decided, “We’ll just combine the students who signed up and still hold both classes. This way all the kids will reap the benefits of two classes per month rather than one and they can have double the fun.”

The VVAA also did something new with the classes this year when they reduced the length of the classes by half.  Last year classes for the “Get Smart with Art” program ran four hours Wiensch said, “That was just too long a time to keep the kids’ attention.  This year our classes are two hours and we hit it right on the nose because right about one hour and fifty minutes into the class the kids began to get antsy. We think the two hours is just perfect and feel that perhaps art will help to develop their attention spans as well.”

Future classes included in the “Get Smart with Art” program are Digital Photography, Watercolor, Collages, Acrylics, Polymer Clay and Drawing Horses.

The next class is scheduled on Oct. 10. If your child would like to participate in this free program contact the VVAA at 702-346-1338 for more information on “Get Smart with Art”.

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