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The City Journals

Innovative library program fosters young artists

Feb 27, 2017 04:35PM ● By Natalie Mollinet

Children and their parents learn how artists express themselves in their paintings. (Natalie Mollinet/City Journals)

By Natalie Mollinet | [email protected]

Every Wednesday night at the Sprague Library little artists take to the canvas, unleashing their creative energy in drawings and paintings thanks to art workshops offered through Central Utah Arts Center (CUAC).  

“They’ve been doing this for a number of years and essentially, in these classes, I’ve taken on talking about modern art and contemporary art and kind of giving a venue for children,” said Katelyn White, the Art Handler and Education coordinator for CUAC, who also teaches the class.

Every week is different and it doesn’t matter whether a child goes every week or just a few times. In each class, children learn about different kinds of art and how they can use art to express themselves. Through the month of February, the theme was expressionism and for March is will be impressionism.

“In our lessons, we’ve talked about Paul Klee and Vincent Van Gogh and next time we’ll talk about Monet,” White said. “And then we’ll bring it all the way up to pop art and street art. We’ll travel through things and keep it not relevant to time but to season and have them express through that.”

“I think that art in general for the general population, it’s not talked about in such a way that is expressive,” White said. “So I think it’s important for children to kind of bring it back to what is happening right now, and bring in that current conversation to a younger population.”

During the Vincent Van Gogh class, kids were introduced to one of his most famous painting, A Starry Night, and then were shown how to use watercolors. Using the watercolors, White asked the children to express themselves in their painting like Van Gogh did. The young artists either tried duplicating Van Gogh’s style or made their own A Starry Night painting, but used the Salt Lake City skyline instead.

CUAC is a non-profit gallery located downtown at 175 E. and 200 S. and displays the work of local artists. White said she hoped that teaching kids at a young age will help them learn to appreciate art.

“I think in general at a gallery with the contemporary art, it’s not as inviting,” White said, “and we have the approach to be inviting but a lot of people just look through the windows instead of come inside, and I think for us to engage in the education department and not only with adults but with children, it will help them have access to art when they might not be able to.”

When children are given the art materials — all supplied by CUAC — they get into the spirit of drawing and love showing their pieces off to friends and family members. Some even remember the names of famous paintings that White showed in her presentation.

“I hope for the kids that it teaches not only the craft of art, but also learning about art through history too,” White said. “It’s sort of a contemporary history, hands-on experience for them.”

Learn more about the class on Sprague Library’s website.