Jule Collins Smith Museum to hold Saturday Art Club for children May 16-Aug. 29

AUBURN – Metalwork, print making and sculpture are some of the art topics and techniques students ages 6 to 18 can explore throughout the summer as Auburn University’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts presents the Saturday Art Club.

The club, which is free and open to the public, begins this Saturday, May 16, and meets every Saturday at 10 a.m. through Aug. 29, except July 4. Participants may stay as long as they like until 1 p.m.

During the sessions, museum educators will work with students in an open-studio environment to help them learn about everything from shape composition and building up an image using shapes, to bookmaking, journal building and paper making.

Each day will have a general project idea but students will be encouraged to actively approach the techniques and concepts from their own points of view, said Andrew Henley, the museum’s education curator for K-12 students. He added that students will be experimenting with different materials and subjects with the guidance of art educators, which, he said, should lead to creative results.

Henley said there will be age-appropriate activities based on the general theme at each session. Tables for younger children will include a reading or a book to tie in the theme. Children will also be exposed to art-related vocabulary such as color, line and shape and will get the opportunity to use authentic materials such as oil pastels, silverpoint and colored pencils throughout the sessions.

Opportunities will also be available to help parents learn how to talk about and teach art to their children. “I hope that the sessions serve as a good conversation starter,” Henley said.

While the benefits of learning about art are significant for all ages, Henley said younger age groups can particularly benefit.

“Art is something that is done by absolutely everybody,” he said. “But especially for children under 12, it is innate as they are still experimenting and exploring the world around them.”

Participation in events such as the Saturday Art Club provides invaluable exposure to different types of art for children and Henley said such events can teach that art can be an outlet.

“Art gives a child another means of expression,” Henley said.

The Saturday Art Club also serves as another way to introduce small children to museums and the idea of what a museum is.

“It helps illustrate that museums are not intimidating and shows kids that the museum is not a formal, untouchable place,” he said. “They learn that it is actually ok to talk at a museum instead of being quiet. And that it is ok to talk about what each piece of artwork is trying to convey.”

A wide variety of topics will be covered throughout the summer. They include metalwork, including embossing and pewter casting; landscape drawing and painting, with invented places and the museum grounds; drawing, exploring various media and techniques; collages, mixed media and juxtapositions; shape composition, building up an image using shapes; patterns and decorative motifs; printmaking, wood and linocuts, Styrofoam prints for the younger students; more drawing techniques; weaving, with yarn, found materials and other media; sculpture, with stone carving and clay modeling; furniture design, ergonomics and decorative approaches; drawing spaces, linear perspective, interior and exterior places; advanced materials and drawing with odd things; bookmaking, journal building and paper making; and mosaics, in small and large scale with found object inclusions.

(Contributed by Katie Wilder.)

Contact: Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)