Youth area introduces kids to world of art

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)

Childrenwill have a chance to travel the globe when they visit the
BG KiwanisYouth Arts Village at the Black Swamp Arts Festival.With an international theme this year, the
festival’s youngest guestswill be given passports to be marked as they travel between differentareas, said
Matt Reger, who’s organizing the youth activities that arealways a big hit.One stop will focus on Australian
aboriginal art, and another on Frenchstained glass, with children creating their own colorful
windows.They’ll also be able to paint on ceramic tile in the spirit of Italianartists 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 apart of the festival,” Reger said.Hands-on is
definitely the goalof youth attractions as volunteers attempt to instill artisticprinciples in children and
encourage that expression.One of the most popular activities, tie-dying will return this year tothe family
area located near Wood County District Public Library. Regersaid 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.Whilemany
activities are geared toward children ages 3 to 12, Regerexplained, a “collaborative art project” is always
planned for olderyouth in junior high and high school who wander into the family area andwant 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 justcrafts
but true art that the kids can participate in and expressthemselves with.”