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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Little artists, big expression

Photo by Photo by Madeline Sambrano
After School Art

Blue, black and white cover the pages of seven different paintings, all creating variations of a starry night. And while the paintings may not go down in history like those of Picasso or Monet, the local elementary-aged students enrolled in the Art After School program are given a creative outlet to explore different art styles and mediums.
Art After School, which is hosted Mondays and Wednesdays by the Arts Council of Brazos Valley (ACBV) at the Studio of the Arts Center, is a 12-week program focusing on art for children ages 6 to 11 with a syllabus customized by Eric Theodore, former Navasota artist in residence.
“A lot of the activities that we’re doing involve some different types of painting, and we cover a lot of different styles as well, like from just doing abstracts to sort of Zentangle stuff with water colors,” Theodore said. “So there’s a lot of skills that are taught, but a lot of it is just them having the freedom to decide and be creative on their own.”
According to ACBV program director Amy Salvaggio, Theodore works not only with Art After School, but also works with KOR Education School’s Fine Arts Fridays, a program that educates children about other fine arts like theatre and music, and with Reflections, a program that works to promote artistic expression among special needs students.
Salvaggio said Art After School offers students a way to explore their creative interests before they have to choose extracurriculars in middle school.
“We’re trying to target those kids when they’re first getting to explore that,” Salvaggio said. “So getting those kids when they’re still in elementary school and getting them to explore more creatively what type of art they like and what they might be interested in pursuing.”
Salvaggio said while a large focus is placed on STEM education in schools, art is important in teaching children to think more creatively. 
“Americans for the Arts have done multiple studies, and you can go and look and see all the different ways that art benefits your life,” Salvaggio said. “It makes people more creative thinkers, more abstract and theoretical thinkers. It allows kids to express themselves in ways they haven’t thought of before which opens them up creatively.”
Nine-year-old Tatum Hapes said painting is her favorite part about Art After School.
“My favorite part about painting is probably messing with gooey stuff, you know, the way that it looks and the way that it feels when I’m doing this — it feels like I could  go on forever and never get tired,” Hapes said.
Theodore said the arts can be beneficial for all students because the skills they gather can translate into other areas of interest.
“[Students are]  just not contained to this little box that ‘They can only think this way during art time.’ It’s like that whole mindset carries over to those other areas. Like in STEM, which is great for innovation and creativity and being able to invent in whatever medium, they can carry that across different subjects,” Theodore said.
If community members want to learn more about donating, volunteering or even teaching a class they can visit for more information.

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  • After School Art

    Photo by Photo by Madeline Sambrano

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