The Color of Inspiration

Saginaw Arts Council Youth Programs for Budding Artists

    icon Aug 20, 2018
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For long-established and award-winning Saginaw artist Veronica Lazorchak the importance of seeing children focus their vision into creative expression on the canvas is one of the pivotal keys for fostering not only their dormant skills, but also channeling their youthful energy into something positive and sustaining. 

Consequently, six years ago she accepted an offer presented by the Saginaw Arts Commission to become both a teacher and mentor of the fine arts for children ranging in age from Kindergarten up through seniors in high school, instructing them in the basics of creating original artwork in mediums ranging from acrylic, watercolor, graphite, chalk and charcoal, through programs presented through both Summer Camps and classes held at the Saginaw’s First Ward Community Center.

Part of her itinerary includes conducting ‘Plein Air’, or art created on the spot in open-air settings, which this summer began at Midland’s Dow Gardens and will also be happening on August 24th at the Andersen Enrichment Center and on August 31st at Bay City State Park.

“Usually the classes are conducted after-school, but right now we are conducting Summer Camps that move to various locations,” she explains. “None of these kids have any formal training, so this is more like an introduction to art that I approach by giving them different subject ideas, showing them the basics, and then giving them lots of encouragement.  Not only do programs such as this help young kids stay out of trouble, but it gives them affirmation when they have their work displayed at different venues, such as the Saginaw Historical Museum and other locations.”

“The key is building up their confidence,” she continues, “and I’ve found that once they get exposed to creating their own work they become totally committed. Generally, I will work with 70 kids each time I teach and will show them how to use different mediums, teaching them the basics in working with watercolor, glass, and graphite.”

The classes are open to any child and when their work is done being displayed at different events, such as Art In the Park,  the kids take their pieces home to keep.

According to Saginaw Arts & Enrichment Center director Nancy Koepke, “Several years ago the Saginaw Arts Commission decided to develop this program as a response to address the vacuum created when the public school system started cutting arts programs from their curriculum.  We went to the Wickes Foundation and the Jury Foundation and through subsequent donations from other grants such as Dow Chemical, have been able to expand these youth outreach programs.”

“This summer we’ve offered programs at the YMCA, The Boys & Girls Club, and have also expanded beyond the visual arts,” she continues. “We brought in Jennifer Naegele this year who did a class at the YMCA with song and movement and offered Ukelele lessons at the Boys & Girls Club, just to expose kids to different creative opportunities.”

For more information about these programs, please call the Saginaw Arts & Enrichment Commission at 989-759-1496 or the First Ward Community Center at 989-753-0411.







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