Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Becoming an Artist
How Local Organizations Encourage Creativity Through Fine Arts

by Nikki Keever

July 01, 2010

Art-ist: a person whose work shows exceptional creative ability or skill. Being creative, or having an imagination, encompasses children virtually every moment of their young life as they explore how to express themselves in everyday life with everyday objects. Programs abound at some of Indianapolis’ creative hubs like the Indianapolis Art Center and others.

If you haven’t heard of these art centers and galleries, think outside the box for yourself and your children to explore.

Indianapolis Art Center has weeklong classes and summer camps. We have many for all ages, time periods and prices.

Ceramic Dreams Studio is hosting kids workshops every week from June through August. Various art projects are being offered to introduce children to new forms of art, add convenience and variety for families and allow children to express their creativity.

At Banyon Tree Art Gallery and Academy, Debbi Strack teaches kindergarten through 8th grade in areas such as drawing, painting, mosaics, jewelry, photography and sculpture. Classes are small and customized to each student. Projects include a self-portrait, which incorporates art therapy. They may use cartooning or painting their pets as an avenue for talking and creating. Each month a well-known artist is incorporated into the lessons.

Monart School of the Arts in Zionsville is offering three different four-day summer camps: Cartooning, Animal Planet, and Favorite Book Characters. We are also offering two one-day camps: Littlest Pet Shop and Bakugan. Campers will have a great time as they learn different drawing and painting techniques and work in a variety of media, all centered on a specific theme.

More than arts & crafts

“Parents love the creativity that their kids experience at the Indianapolis Arts Center and the exposure to the exhibitions, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, and how teachers incorporate projects to go along with the featured shows,” said Lisa DeHayes, Director of Marketing.

For children to be exposed to new medium of communication, art allows them to discover new ways to express themselves. Through art, the types of creations their imaginations will form are endless.

Parents of Monart Students say that they are amazed at the quality of the artwork the students create and that their children love coming. They often hear how much the classes have increased a child’s self esteem.

“At the Indianapolis Arts Center, kids can express themselves in multiple art forms — painting, drawing (including medieval fantasy characters, cartoons, etc.), ceramics, glass blowing, metal smithing (making jewelry), fashion design, photography, video production and digital art. We even have steel sculpture, printmaking and the Art of the Diary for teens,” said DeHayes.

At the Banyon Tree Art Gallery, Strack facilitates students of all ages through all artistic mediums.

“Most often, the students can take home their art the same day. When the parents pick up their child, they usually ask the child about the project and if it was fun. The children are anxious to tell their parents just how they made the particular craft or painting,” said Strack. “The students love to work with clay and create a sculpture. What they start out making rarely is the end product. We create one day and paint the creation on the second day. Paintings and sculpture are the favorite classes because most parents don’t want to deal with the mess.”

Open every day, Ceramic Dreams is a year-round impromptu aspiring artist hangout.

“We offer beginner level art projects everyday. You can walk-in anytime for paint-your-own pottery, glass fusing and ceramic mosaics. You can call ahead to schedule a time for the plastic melamine plates and hand-building with clay,” said Tanya Roberts, owner of Ceramic Dreams.

“We designed our studio to be cozy and fun. We have a window booth, couch, plants, comfy chairs and warm inviting colors in order to make guests feel at home. The environment is laid back and guests work at their own pace. This takes away the intimidation and pressure of making a perfect piece. It allows guests to be themselves, be creative and have fun. Both kids and their parents are excited to pick up the finished pieces. Returning to see the colorful, shiny ceramics brings a smile and sense of pride to the little artist and their parents,” said Roberts.

Creating art is a fine way for children to make choices and solve problems. Every step involves making a decision: what color to use, how to make a line, what size to make something. With every choice, the object becomes increasingly their own.

Classes available at the Indianapolis Art Center include:

Brilliant Mosaics: Thurs. July 8 –Design, create and grout a ceramic tile, trivet or cross. Ages 8+

Kids and Clay: Tue. July 13 – Hand-build and paint a coil pot, vase, figurine, message rocks or handprints with wet clay. Ages 8+

Lemonade Cup: Fri. July 16 – Paint a tall ceramic mug for summer drinks. All ages.

Ice Cream Bowl: Mon. July 19 – Paint a ceramic bowl for ice cream, soup, cereal, salad and meals. All Ages.

Plastic Picnic Plate: Thurs. July 22 – Create a plastic plate using special markers and paper (coloring & drawing, not painting). All Ages.

Football Bank: Tues. July 27 – Paint a ceramic football bank and start saving for fall football games. All ages.

Glass Fusing: Wed. Aug. 4 – Design and build a glass window hanging. Ages 5+.

All workshops take place at 11 a.m. and range from $13 to $15 per person. Weeklong full- and half-day camps are available.

Nikki Keever is a freelance writer, wife and mother of three living in Noblesville, Indiana. She can be reached at