Parents stop art class cancellation

A children’s art class on the verge of cancellation has not only rebounded but expanded

Tanya Kaul

A children’s art class on the verge of cancellation has not only rebounded but expanded thanks to a group of dedicated parents.

Last week the After School Art Sampler offered by Cowichan Lake Recreation for kids age seven to 12 did not have its minimum number of registrants and was going to be cancelled. However, when parents of pre-school aged children learned of the situation, they began talking about how they wished their young ones could join.

Heather Kinch was among those interested in her three-year-old daughter taking an art program but unable to travel to Duncan for the toddler art classes there.

“I believe this town really, really needs it, especially for people who have a hard time getting out of town and back,” she said.

Her daughter was already enrolled in programming at the arena, and so Kinch spoke to the program coordinator on behalf of the other parents to find out if it would be possible for younger children to participate.

“She said, ‘If you can get five (to sign up).’ Well, I already had three,” said Kinch. “We went home, finished dinner and we had seven.”

Recreation programmer Tanya Kaul, in consultation with the class instructor, did the rest.

“We’ve opened up the age group from age three up until 12 and we’re going to ask for parent participation. We’ve moved the location from the high school up to the arena, it’ll be located in the play school room upstairs,” she said.

The class price was also reduced to encourage greater participation.

Kaul said while the rec centre does offer activities for toddlers such as mini gym, play school and dance, it did not have any creative programming in terms of arts and crafts for that age group.

“It’s definitely a go,” she said.

Amanda Griesbach, the artist teaching the course, taught similar classes on Pender Island for three years before moving Lake Cowichan.

“With all the tablets and computers, we’re losing that connection with real paint and arts and crafts, which help [kids] with dexterity, spatial composition, just a lot of skills that are integrated when you’re doing artwork,” she said.

Because the new class will span a much larger age bracket, Griesbach will split the group in two, with the older students doing a single project or focusing on a single technique each class, while the toddlers will do two or three small projects during the class. Children five and under must be accompanied by a parent, and not just for supervision purposes.

“What I’m hoping is [parents] will bring it home with them and they won’t be quite so scared about art,” said Griesbach. “For some reason people get saying, ‘Oh I can’t do art.’ Well everyone can do art. Bring it home and do some artwork with your kids.”

The class begins Jan. 21. Grisebach offers an evening art class for teens starting the same day.