By Tonya Strickland, Photos by David Middlecamp
Brightly colored strips of tissue paper and glue sticks surrounded 8-year-old Nicholas Myers as he pointed a pair of purple-handled scissors at a magazine clipping.
“I’m going to make two squares out of this and make his eyes,” the Winifred Pifer Elementary School third-grader said while sitting among his classmates on a field trip to Studios on the Park in Paso Robles on Thursday.
The students were part of a grant-funded pilot program with Paso Robles Public Schools to bring art into the lives of more than 700 local elementary school children at Winifred Pifer and Virginia Peterson elementary schools.
Classes began in January and end in April. There are 34 classes total: 28 for first through fifth grades at Studios and six for kindergarteners at their schools.
“I want (this) experience to be fun and creative and not be negative in any way,” Cambria artist Jeanette Wolff said. The Studios artist is among members who volunteer their time to instruct the classes. She chose collage for her lesson.
Previous classes featured marbling pieces of paper in water and floating inks. Next up are ceramics and printmaking.
“It’s different with these professional artists showing them,” Studios president Anne Laddon said, noting that the lesson plans are more unconventional that way.
Wolff on Thursday encouraged the children to pull alternative shapes from the magazines to create their personal profiles.
As a result, pictures of carrot smiles, woven snowshoe hands, lettuce hair, lobster claw arms and lipstick fingers made up the plethora of shapes.
The student artwork will be exhibited in late spring for the community to view. Peterson’s exhibition will be May 5 to 8 and Pifer’s will be May 12 to 15 at the Studios, 1130 Pine St.
In October, Studios received a $25,000 matching grant from the Central Coast Wine Classic that joined with money from the Avalon Foundation, private donors and local businesses.
The $50,000 goes to supplies, transportation and everything else to create the field trip art classes.
Laddon hopes to raise more money in donations and grants and hold the program again in the fall.