Children (ages 7-11) in four towns can complete arts and crafts projects inspired by a variety of cultures while enjoying summertime outside at the four-week Bonifas Arts Center “Art in the Park: Hands Around the World” program starting June 19.
“Art in the Park” classes, a popular Bonifas offering in the past, now will be offered in Escanaba, Gladstone, Bark River, and Rapid River so as many children as possible—including out-of-town visitors—can have easier access to art, said Cathy Uhazie, instructor. “Everyone is welcome” to attend the entire series or a single class, she said.
The first week, children will make animal nose masks inspired by African masks. The second week, they’ll make paper mache bowls, with paper mache used in many cultures, including here in the United States. The third week, kids can make twirling palm puppets inspired by Indian puppetry. The last week, students (except those in Escanaba) will make dolls inspired by Japanese Kokeshi dolls.
The classes can help children understand that each culture has different types of art, raising awareness of cultural differences, while also showing kids that similarities sometimes transcend nationality “no matter where we are on the planet,” said Uhazie. For example, they can learn that children in other countries also play with dolls, she said.
Creating outside is sheer fun, said Uhazie. The surrounding natural beauty and scents, sounds, and weather may inspire and influence creations, but Uhazie decided to teach outdoors simply because kids love being “in the fresh air” savoring summer, she said.
A limited number of children, the first to register at each location, will receive vouchers for free ice cream or custard from Culver’s in Escanaba and Bark River, or Dairy Flo in Gladstone and Rapid River, “Art in the Park” sponsors, said Irina Bruno, Bonifas education coordinator.
Each class costs $8 if preregistered and $10 for walk-ins, or the full series is available for a reduced rate ($20 in Escanaba and $30 at the other locations).
Gladstone classes will run Mondays, June 19 and 26 and July 10 and 17, from 1-2:30 p.m. at the VanCleve Park Native Sculpture Pavilion, and Tuesdays, June 20 and 27 and July 11 and 18, from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at the VanCleve Park Kids Kingdom pavilion.
In Rapid River, children can meet Wednesdays, June 21 and 28 and July 12 and 19, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the township pavilion.
Bark River classes will run Wednesdays, June 21 and 28 and July 12 and 19, from 2-3:30 p.m., at the township pavilion.
Scholarships are available for families with three or more children; for more information, call 786-3833.
“Art in the Park” is supported, in part, by the Escanaba chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and Northern Insurance Agency.