Arts program big success

Since January, Lake Kathlyn students have been introduced to a variety of non-curriculum art forms, thanks to the hard work of Leeann Herrington, a dedicated volunteer, and Laura Owens, the music teacher.

Elizabeth London works diligently on turning her clay into a sculpture of a dog during Lake Kathlyn’s last extra-curricular arts program

Elizabeth London works diligently on turning her clay into a sculpture of a dog during Lake Kathlyn’s last extra-curricular arts program

Do I want to make a cat?  A wolf?

Those were questions 19 Lake Kathlyn Elementary School students found themselves asking as they stared at a shapeless blob of clay.

All they were told was that there would be no Spongebob Squarepants sculpted – other than that, they could let their creativity run free.

Since January, Lake Kathlyn students have been introduced to a variety of non-curriculum art forms, thanks to the hard work of Leeann Herrington, a dedicated volunteer, and Laura Owens, the music teacher.

Both have seen how arts programs in schools have suffered from the cutbacks in education and decided to do something about it.

“Being in the Bulkley Valley there is so much artistic talent and musical opportunities, and we wanted to be able to expose the kids to those,” Herrington said.

The idea turned into the Lake Kathlyn Arts Club, where each week a different artist comes in from the community to teach the children how they too could create non-curriculum works of art.

Mediums included plasticine, pastels, multi-media and acrylic, and each of the sessions have been highly popular, Herrington said. In fact, while the program is open to students from the whole school, often they have to shut the door due to spacial concerns, so often there’s a line. Of the 81 students, 51 of them have vied for positions in the classes, Owens said.

“We weren’t expecting nearly as many kids,” Herrington said, who was thrilled with the turnout.

April was the last month of the program, but with such a success they will definitely consider running it next year, although it does depend on funding.  They’ve had a lot of community support, with donations from groups and businesses to keep it running. The artists themselves have been great in donating their time, Herrington said.

The program does depend solely on donations covering the cost of all the materials for each student who would like to attend. No student should be left behind because they can’t afford it, Owens said.

“We just really want to expose them to everything,” Herrington said. “Our goal was to even help one, maybe two, and it’s really taken off. We’ve had quite the little artists come out of it, especially in the music program.”