Why Not a School Art Festival?

Every child should be lucky enough to attend an art festival like the one in Paso Robles, California every year. If that’s too far for your family to go, see if your area has one. If it doen’t , see what you can do about getting one started — even if it’s just on a school level at first. Every child is creative. Help your children to find an outlet for that creativity. Here are some ideas on how to do that.

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Children Love Helping to Build this Sand Castle at Festival of the Arts, Paso Robles
Children Love Helping to Build this Sand Castle at Festival of the Arts, Paso Robles

I have just returned from the Paso Robles Festival of the Arts for 2012, and was full of regret that my children had never had the opportunity a local art festival presented to see how creative people could be. Both of my children had some artistic talent, but I was not artistic enough to help them explore what they could do to develop any but their musical gifts.

Children Experiment with Instruments at the Musical Petting Zoo
Children Experiment with Instruments at the Musical Petting Zoo

Paso Robles held its first Festival of the Arts in 2009, and I’ve attended each one since 2010, making this my third. Each year it gets better. I always encourage people to come and bring their children because they will have the time of their lives. In my latest post in my local blog, Tidbits from Templeton, I posted pictures of  many activities that were available to children this year. I’m only able to include a photo of the 2011 musical petting zoo, which allows children to try out playing a wide selection of music instruments. I only have this year’s in video. I will be writing an article that incorporates video on  these activities as soon as I can get them processed.

Children Make Tie Dye Art at The Paso Robles Festival of the Arts
Children Make Tie Dye Art at The Paso Robles Festival of the Arts

The variety of hands-on activities ran the gamut from music and painting to wading in rose petal pools, building a super sand castle,  and making zany hats. There was also plenty to see that might inspire creativity.  The stilt walkers were awesome. There were performances of the high school jazz band, creative dance, dance teams, Singing Hands Children’s Choir, Mexican Folklore dance, and dance students on the Youth Stage. As I was walking near the center of the park there was someone juggling with a Chinese yoyo (forget the Chinese name for it) grabbing the attention of any young person nearby. There were also plenty of art forms on display in the more adult area of the park — painting, photography, mixed media, items made from found objects recycled into art, fused glass, sculpture, and more.

Sarah With Model Cliff Dwelling
Sarah With Model Cliff Dwelling

Sometimes all children need is an idea and available materials to execute it. I saw that when my daughter made her model of a cliff dwelling while we were on vacation in Colorado and had just visited Mesa Verde National Park. She went outside after dinner and then came in a couple of hours later to show us what she had done with just the materials she found around the cabin.

The children in every community should have such activities  available. If your city or county doesn’t have an annual art festival for the community, maybe your school or home school group could get the ball rolling.  There are many businesses that specialize in providing art experiences for children at large events or at parties. One of these is Paint Jam, which takes care of bringing everything to  your location that children will need to be an artist for a given time –paint, brushes, easels, aprons, etc. They take charge from greeting to cleanup, and the children each have a completed picture they created to take home. They are located in Santa Barbara and had to travel to participate in the Festival of the Arts. Maybe there is a similar group in your area. Maybe you could even start such a business yourself if it doesn’t exist in your area yet.

You can get great ideas for children’s art activities suitable for art fairs and festivals from the books on this web page.  These would also help someone wanting to start a children’s art party business or just entertain their own children over the summer. Consider a family art night where everyone participates in his or her creative activity.

Enjoying my Community of North San Luis Obispo County

Scene from the Walk on Oakview Lane in Templeton
A scene along Oakview Lane in Templeton, where I often walk

I haven’t added much to this blog lately because I’ve been exploring my community and writing about it at both Squidoo and HubPages, where I won a contest last month with this article: Great Short Hikes in North San Luis Obispo County: Paso Robles, Templeton, and Atascadero.

"Where the Heck is 93446?" a photograph by Nancy Vest
"Where the Heck is 93446?" by Nancy Vest, used by permission.

With my Flip camcorder and camera in a fanny pack,  I find the most interesting walks, explore the vineyards and wineries who are my neighbors, and try to keep up with local festivals and traditions. Just this year I discovered Studios on the Park, where many of the local artists interact with the public, and I try to introduce them to others.  The picture above was from the “Speed” exhibit I have referred to below. I love Nancy’s sense of humor that I see in a lot of her imaginative photographs.

What does all this have to do with bookselling and education? It makes me a more balanced person. One can’t sit at a computer all day and still remain part of one’s community. The most important education is that we seek out after we are through with schooling.  My community has an abundance of learning experiences — so many that it’s hard to choose between them.  So far I’ve not paid a penny for any of them, unless I make purchases while attending events, which I often do.

Laure Carlisle's Self-Portrait at Studios on the Park, Paso Robles
Laure Carlisle's Self-Portrait at Studios on the Park, Paso Robles

I can choose between music, history art, and nature. On  October 7,  I stumbled into the opening of “Speed” — a juried exhibit of the Paso Robles Art Association and had some delightful and educational conversations with some of the artists. What I had come for was the opportunity to finish trying to match artists with their self-portraits in a contest related to an ongoing exhibit. The next night I was able to attend a concert and a historical walking tour as part of the Central Coast Railroad Festival. And the very next day, our community of Paso Robles celebrated its history with a morning parade followed by a free bean feed at the City Park. I was too tired to move to the Pioneer Museum after lunch for some demonstrations of threshing and baling. Instead I went home and edited all the pictures and video I had taken so I could write them up and share them with the community. It’s my way of giving back.

It’s true that while I’m out doing these things I’m not listing books and blogging, but I’m continuing to learn. The desire to keep learning is, in my opinion, the test of one’s education, which should create a thirst for more learning.