New programs bring art to Kodiak Teen Center

KODIAK (AP) — When it’s too cold for outdoor play, kids can exercise their creativity indoors at the Kodiak Teen Center for Friday art day.

The Kodiak Teen Center now hosts art Fridays that allow kids of all ages can come and make artwork with one of two groups.

Art with Liz Ellis, an aide at Main Elementary, takes place 4-5 p.m. Fridays.

The program has been running for about a month and is gaining popularity, Ellis said.

“My class last week had 14 kids,” she said.

Ellis started the art program because she has a background in art. She studied apparel design at the Art Institute of Seattle and wanted to volunteer in the community.

“It was actually something I heard on the radio,” she said. “Use what you’re good at and take that and volunteer.”

Ellis, who has worked as an aide at Main Elementary for three years, said she doesn’t do as much art at the school. Instead, she does reading groups. Working at the school made her realize that students needed an opportunity to express their creativity outside of a school setting.

“I really wanted to get the kids off the iPads at home and let them do whatever they want, think outside of the box,” Ellis said. “Instead of at school where everything has certain standards and has to have a certain purpose. Art is just to make you feel happy.”

Ellis has a stockpile of donated craft supplies, and each week she comes up with an idea for a project.

Some of the crafts the group has done so far include holiday cards, giant fish and butterfly crafts, ornaments and pastel snowflakes.

Supplies or cash donations for the program can be dropped off at Main Elementary.

Kodiak Area Native Association also sponsors a Friday art program at the Teen Center, which is targeted for students in sixth through ninth grade.

Some of the projects the KANA group has done include ornaments, bracelets and other gifts. The group will also work on making a rug in upcoming classes.

The KANA art program runs from 3:30-5 p.m. Both programs are free and open to the public. They will run through the winter with no set end date.

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