Youth area introduces kids to world of art
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Monday, 26 August 2013 15:39
Olivia Karas, 3, of Swanton (middle) smiles as she tries on a paper hat made by volunteer Debbie Whitson (left) as father Jason Karas (right) has a look. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Children will have a chance to travel the globe when they visit the BG Kiwanis Youth Arts Village at the Black Swamp Arts Festival.
With an international theme this year, the festival’s youngest guests will be given passports to be marked as they travel between different areas, said Matt Reger, who’s organizing the youth activities that are always a big hit.
One stop will focus on Australian aboriginal art, and another on French stained glass, with children creating their own colorful windows. They’ll also be able to paint on ceramic tile in the spirit of Italian artists and create Egyptian necklaces and Mexican masks.
“This way, they’ll get some exposure from different parts of the world, and also express themselves in unique and different ways and feel like a part of the festival,” Reger said.
Hands-on is definitely the goal of youth attractions as volunteers attempt to instill artistic principles in children and encourage that expression.
One of the most popular activities, tie-dying will return this year to the family area located near Wood County District Public Library. Reger said thousands of items have been dyed in recent years.
Participants can color their own items or choose from a supply of T-shirts, pillowcases and socks for $1 to $5.
Meanwhile, many performers lined up for the main stage will also play music on the Family Entertainment Stage. The area is from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday and noon until 5 p.m. Sunday.
While many activities are geared toward children ages 3 to 12, Reger explained, a “collaborative art project” is always planned for older youth in junior high and high school who wander into the family area and want to participate.
This year, they’ll practice their skills by repainting old doors, being encouraged to experiment with different styles.
“Our goal is to always try to do some teaching so they not only learn about art but can also participate,” Reger said.
“It’s such a unique aspect of our festival — to incorporate not just crafts but true art that the kids can participate in and express themselves with.”

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