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WNAC hosts after-school art program

January 9, 2019

SCOTTSBLUFF — The spring session of the West Nebraska Arts Center’s After-School Art Program began Tuesday as students decorated clay pots with the guidance of instructor Rod Clause.

Claus works specifically with fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders. With a K-12 education degree from Chadron State College, Clause enjoys connecting students to the arts.

“I want to share what I know about the arts and share it with the kids,” he said. “The educational programs are eliminating art programs. We just need to continue teaching kids problem-solving skills, which is what art is.”

Clause started the program with basic drawing and painting skills before having students work with clay. Clay has never be taught in the art program, due to the required materials and time to fire.

Before going on Christmas Break, students created coil and pinch pots, so the pots would have time to be fired before they painted them. Over the Christmas Break, Clause used equipment in his studio to fire a hand kiln clay project for students to paint during their first spring session Tuesday. He placed the pots into an 1,800-degree kiln. Through that process, the heat dries out the water from the clay.

“I want to push them to use their imagination through art,” said Clause.

During their first spring session, the students used acrylic paint to decorate their pots. The eight students created simple pots, with some students turning them into animals like rabbits and foxes or created a face inside the pot. While the students created two different pots, fifth-grader Hudson DeVoss said he set a goal to create a pot that was 3 feet tall.

“My favorite pot is my coil because this one I actually had to set a goal and I got a little less than half way, but it was still good enough for me,” he said.

As he started to color his pot, he said he enjoys how art allows anyone to express themselves freely but the hardest part is the details.

“The hardest part is getting the finishing details and making the realism of whatever we’re trying to sketch or paint.”

While some students started the painting process right after grabbing their pots, others thought about the design.

“The hardest part is figuring out what you want to do before you do it,” said sixth-grader Katie Hoevet. “That way you aren’t just winging it in the middle of making the pot.”

Hoevet said she enjoys creating art, but three-dimensional art appeals to her the most.

“I like to make things in 3-D rather than 2-D because it always appeals to me to make stuff with your hands rather than drawing it on paper,” she said.

The art program offers visual arts education to students in grades 1—6 using the Nebraska State Standards for Fine Arts Education as a guide. During the program, students develop skills to create, present, respond to and connect art with human experiences through a variety of media — painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, sculpture, applied design and technology. Such hands-on creativity helps students develop an understanding of the principles of art and the elements of design as well as strengthening their expression and imagination. After each session, the students will add a new creation to their portfolios, which they will have the opportunity to display in a gallery exhibit in April. The students will learn the process of matting their artwork as they prepare for a show that will be displayed in the Bronson Gallery at WNAC.

Larry Delgado teaches art classes to first-, second- and third-graders on Mondays.

Registration is open and can be done in person, by visiting www.thewnac.com, calling WNAC at 308-632-2226 or emailing WNAC Program Manager Lena Soto at lena@thewnac.com. The monthly cost is $50 or $40 for WNAC members. Payment is due the first Monday or first Tuesday class each month.

The After School Art Program takes place at WNAC, located at 106 E 18th Street in Scottsbluff.

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