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Museum, theater programs expand youth's artistic and theatrical talents

By Staff
CULTURAL PROGRAMS n Pegi Harmon shows the 6- and 7-year-old group how to draw Cinderella's castle. Photo by Carisa/McCain
By Ida Brown/The Meridian Star
July 1, 2001
A 7-year old sits quietly at a table and, with intricate fold techniques, turns an ordinary sheet of paper into an extraordinary art object.
While a husband and wife enjoy a relaxing evening at home, their 8-year-old son breaks out in show tunes.
Not your typical summertime activities for kids. But they are the norm for local youth enrolled in summer art and theater programs.
Meridian Museum of Art and Meridian Little Theatre are providing the boys and girls of summer an opportunity to do more than sit in front of the television or "hang out" with friends during their vacation from school. The cultural entities are stimulating local youth's artistic and theatrical talents.
Youth Art Programs Meridian Museum of Art
Drawing, painting, pottery/sculpture, comic books, mask-making, origami, metal jewelrymaking and quiltmaking are among the activities offered through Meridian Museum of Art's Youth Art Programs.
Geared to youth ages 4-12, the one-week sessions are tailored to the student's ability level, yet challenges them.
This past week, a group of 6 to 12-year-olds were introduced to the world of origami the art of Japanese paper folding to create objects such as animals symbols, baskets and boxes. Longtime museum art class instructor Raymond Woods conducted the sessions.
Upon entering the class area, the atmosphere was somewhat subdued.
As she begins to make another object, Hodge concentrates totally on the task at hand.
As Woods began to distribute another sheet of paper to each student, he noted the next object to craft was a bug catcher. Throughout the room, each of the students responded, "The bug catcher!" "The bug catcher! Yes!!!!!"
Metal jewelrymaking and quiltmaking are the last installments of the program. Designed for ages 6 to 12, the session will be held July 9-13 at the museum.
Metal jewelrymaking provides an introduction to metals and their qualities, forming metals, tolls, use of safety equipment, shaping and cutting and how metals may be joined. Instructed by Charles Munoz, the session is from 11 a.m.-noon.
Quiltmaking provides an introduction to the craft, using handquilting, photo transfer and crayon transfer techniques. Linda Munoz is instructor for the session, which is scheduled from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost for the classes are $30, non-museum members; $25, members or children of members. For more information, contact Terry Heder, museum director, at 693-1501.
The last event of the MMA Summer Youth Art Program will be a special exhibit of artwork created in the classes. The exhibit will be held July 22-29 and conclude with a reception from 2 p.m.-3 p.m. on July 29. The reception is open to parents, family and friends.
Youth Workshop Meridian Little Theatre
If Susan VanZandt had any concerns about whether her 8-year-old son, Spencer, enjoyed attending a week-long youth workshop at Meridian Little Theatre, they were put to rest one evening while sitting at home.
And while he is now singing show tunes, Spencer sang a different tune when he first learned he was enrolled in the program.
The one-week summer workshop, which concluded Friday, teaches youth the finer side of theater, art, drama and dance. It is designed for children who enter first grade at the start of the school year through grade 12.
During the program, youth learned drama from Pat Gray, who focused on dialogue, script reading and the "how tos" to trying out for a play; choreography from Sharon Howard, who supervises all aspects of choreography in the theater and taught the youth theatrical dance; the musical aspect of productions, with special emphasis on theatrical music technique from music instructor Sharon Pratt; and set design and costuming from art instructor Pegi Harmon.
An aspiring actress, Brown said the workshop gave her more confidence to tryout for plays.
Like Brown, 6-year-old Caroline Kennard hopes to someday shine in the spotlight.
But performing wasn't the workshop's only attraction.
And though VanZandt has enjoyed the workshop, he has no plans to expand his thespian skills.
The workshop concluded with a production in which all the children participated both in the limelight and behind-the-scenes.