Art programs livens up after-school options

MANITOULIN—Manitoulin’s 4elements Living Arts is bringing an after school art program of workshops for kids to Manitoulin schools this spring.

The program workshops will take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at different schools on the Island through May to early June, with at least one program taking place in June.

“Most of our programs try to make a connection to the natural world through the arts,” said 4elements Living Arts Executive Director Sophie Edwards. Since many public school systems are looking at that approach in teaching, the programs make a perfect fit.

Through the program, teams of artists rotate through the schools after classes. The fit with the curriculum is also beneficial and having artists come into the schools to deliver the programs is close to ideal.

“A lot of teachers are not as comfortable (teaching art), they don’t always have the time and sometimes they can be intimidated by the subject,” she noted.

[pullquote]“A lot of teachers are not as comfortable (teaching art), they don’t always have the time and sometimes they can be intimidated by the subject,” she noted.[/pullquote]

In the Kids in the School art classes, ‘Exploring the World Through the Arts,’ the teachers comprise a solid base of local artists, including Heather Thoma, Kate Thompson, Mariana Lafrance and Sophie Edwards.

The workshops take place from 3 pm on each Tuesday in May at Central Manitoulin Public School; on Wednesdays in May at Assiginack Public School and on Wednesdays from May 7 to June 4 at Little Current Public School.

Ms. Edwards described one art project in which the children will take part. “The students will be using a wide range of colourful materials to build fantastical bird’s nests,” she said. “The finished nests will be put outside and the students will be able to see if birds take the colourful materials to incorporate into their own nests.” The brightly coloured materials will make it easier to spot when birds have integrated the material from the students’ creations into their own construction.

Other workshops (open to all ages) being offered by 4elements this spring include ‘Navigating the Ins and Outs,’ which will take place at LoonSong Farm just outside Little Current on Friday, May 9 from 1 pm to 4 pm. This workshop in observing and drawing will explore extremes in nature and everyday life, and will help participants build the basic skills of artistry. The instructor is Heather Thoma and there is a $30 cost plus materials. A ‘Mother and Daughter’ workshop offered by Kate Thompson will take place from 9 am to noon in Kagawong on Saturday, May 31. ‘Doll Making’ will explore exactly that from 1 to 4 pm on the same day with Heather Thoma instructing. An ‘Indego Dying’ workshop will take place on July 8 and 9,  from 9 am to 4 pm, with instructor Harriet Boon. There is a $100 plus materials fee for this workshop. This workshop is co-sponsored by Manitoulin Weavers and Spinners.

To register for any of these programs, or to gain additional information, call 705-368-3211 or email