By Katina Rose
One of the wonderful things about children is introducing
them to new and exciting things that life has to offer. Children are full of wonderment, open minds
and know how to enjoy the moment for what it is, which is why enjoying the
experiences of the fine arts can be so much fun for everyone involved.
It is never too early, or too late, to expose children to
the various art forms. If you have an
infant, play classical music throughout the house. As infants grow into toddlers and early
pre-school ages, there are many art opportunities that open up. Give a child a paintbrush, paint (or even let
them use their hands) and you will experience a masterpiece and many hours of
Preschoolers are especially tuned into music and enjoy singing
songs to learn new things. It will amaze
you at how quickly they can remember lyrics to a song.
According to Kathy Hawk, with Kingsport Art Guild and former
elementary art teacher, age 2 is the perfect time to expose kids to the visual
arts. “This is the “scribbling stage” and usually lasts until the child is four,”
she says. “Just remember to buy age
appropriateness materials made by reputable manufactures with non-toxic and AP
(approved product) seal on them.”
Hawk says the visual arts teach children to be creative
thinkers, curious and more fluent in producing a large number of ideas. It helps them become problem solvers and the arts
stress divergent thinking, she says.
Don’t be afraid to let your child be creative, messy and use
their imagination when exploring the arts.
Set up an area in your home with
a plastic drop cloth under a table where they can work without limitations. It is
important to remember that a child doesn’t need expensive art supplies. They can be creative with scraps of cloth, empty
boxes, buttons, feathers and your basic washable markers.
There are many classes and community organizations/businesses
that offer children an outlet for their artistic ability and will offer
opportunities for them to expand their knowledge. Don’t hesitate to let your child try
different art forms and expose them to different art forms at any age.
While exploring an art gallery, Hawk said, “Ask children to
help you make-up a story about the artwork, guess how the artist created it, why
did they pick the subject they did and what title would you give the artwork.”
“Art is about expressing your thoughts and feelings,” said
Kathleen Buttolph, director of education at Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin
Program for the Arts. “When students participate in theatre, they build
self-confidence and prepare for future public speaking opportunities. It gives them self-assurance and comfort
with their own individual personality traits. We teach them social awareness,
respect and tolerance for all people.
The students become better listeners and observers of the world around
Buttolph recommends starting children in the theatre at the
age of five, but is excited about a new class offered this summer, Theatre for
Tots, which will be offered for one week in June for ages 2-5, as a way to
introduce young children to the basics of the theatre.
Regardless of the age of your child, it is never too late to
enroll in a fine arts class or get out and enjoy the various art forms in our
local community. We are fortunate to
live in an area that gives us, as parents, many choices and opportunities to
show our children how wonderful the world of art can be for the mind, soul, and
complete well being.
There are many local facilities in the Northeast Tennessee
area that offer the opportunity to participate and view fine arts with
children. A few to check out
Barter Theatre in Abingdon
Kingsport Theatre Guild
- Jonesborough Repertory Theatre,
Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the
- Kingsport Symphony
- Renaissance Center’s Main Gallery in
- Downtown Kingsport Association Gallery
- Trinity Art Center in Johnson City offers
a wide array of classes in dance, art,
theatre and language
Local dance schools offer classes to try or
performances to watch (here are a
few of the many dance schools in the
Youth Ballet of Johnson City
Studio Dance in Johnson City
- Holloway Dance School in Kingsport
- Suzuki Talent Education of Appalachia
offers music classes in violin, viola, cello