Art City teaches kids art, conservation

August 24, 2009 8:34:51 AM PDT
Who says you need expensive canvases and other pricey supplies to create art? A group of young people is using reclaimed items to show you can make art out of almost anything.

This may look like piles of old boxes to you, but they are really dream houses, complete with trap doors, look-out scopes and even warning signs for trespassers.

"We were making dream houses and we made a beware sign with sharp toothpicks around it," eight-year-old Charlie Bryant said.

And why throw away the caps from your take-out beverages when they can make such great wagon wheels?

These projects are all the results of a little extra thought and big imaginations.

Jennifer Bryant started Itty Bitty Art City this summer on the Near South Side to create an environment where children could learn the principals of art and the value of preserving the planet.

"I wanted to incorporate recycle and reuse because I think that's an important theme for children to have in their life so that they understand the importance and become involved in it at a very young age," Bryant said.

An abstract painting project uses non-traditional methods of applying color to paper. Eyedroppers, squeeze bottles and spray containers allow kids to achieve varying effects. They also challenge the children to consider a different use for an object destined for a landfill.

One child bragged about using ketchup bottles, mustard bottles and spray bottles.

"You kept squeezing it and it was just so fun that you could keep squeezing it and paint all the sides," seven-year-old Patrick Navarre said

While each lesson is crafted to teach a lesson for a lifetime, most of the youngsters only notice one thing; it's fun.

The Itty Bitty Art City will run year-round programs.


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