Summer workshops expose kids to art

Posted: Thursday, August 08, 2002

Ordinarily, kids messing with ink and paint would be a parent's nightmare, but in this case it's constructive and educational, not to mention entertaining.

The fun begins Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center, when a print-making workshop will be held for children ages 5 through 15.

"Print making is usually a real good (activity)," said Debbie Harris, the art education specialist for the center who teaches the workshop. "It's a different experience for them. It's a little bit more technically involved."

Participants will get to try their hands at several print-making techniques. The class for younger kids, 5 to 9, will experiment with using materials like Styrofoam to make prints. The older class, 10 to 15, will try more advanced techniques, like block printing, relief printing and mono printing.

In block printing, a design is carved out of a block of material, like linoleum, ink is rolled on to the design surface and then stamped onto paper. Relief printing is done by creating a three-dimensional design on the paper, with cardboard or a different material, inking the design and stamping it on paper. Mono printing entails creating a picture with paint or ink on a hard, flat surface, like glass, laying paper on it and taking a single print from the design.

Both classes will begin with Harris taking the participants through the "Spirit of Alaska: The Inner Landscape" summer art show at the center where Harris will point out at examples of printing and the methods the artists used.

Harris makes the session in the gallery as interactive as possible to avoid a lecture format.

The participants are asked to find a favorite piece in the "Spirit of Alaska" show to discuss with the class.

"Part of what I do is

give them the words to tell me what it is about the piece that they like, why they like it, some of the different elements in it, the formal properties, how it was made, that kind of stuff," Harris said.

There are a few pieces in the show that many of the kids say they like, but there is no clear kid-pleaser in the show, Harris found.

"There really is not one piece that they like, they like everything in the room," she said. "It's a real variety and they like them for different reasons."

The print-making workshop will be the last in a series of summer arts workshops offered through the center and taught by Harris. Previous workshops have been on painting, book making and watercolors.

"Kids love them and parents like them too," Harris said about the workshops. "... (It's) valuable for kids to be able to see original works of art. In Kenai and small communities, kids are not always able to see the originals, so to see what the artists in this state are doing is valuable for them and gives them an idea of what's going on locally. And art in general is valuable because it shows the way people think differently and that creativity has no limit."

The session for younger children begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and the session for older children begins at 1 p.m There is a 10 person limit for each session and a $10 materials fee.

Reservations will be taken until Saturday morning. For more information or to register, call 283-1991.

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