When former art teacher Ann Vaden began introducing club members to master artists in December 2019 at the Lancaster Primary School, nobody could imagine what 2020 would bring. Her plan had been to conduct monthly in-person sessions, focusing on a different artist’s paintings each month. After teaching a little about the artist, she would encourage children to create their own masterpieces. Before the schools and the club were forced to close, her young students had created Henri Rousseau jungles, Georgia O’Keeffe flowers and Claude Monet water lilies.
“The kids were so enthusiastic that I hoped to find a way to continue the program for them at home,” Ann says. Her solution was to add an “Art in the Bag” project to the “Club on the Go” bags that were distributed to members weekly along with meals. Each child received a packet, with everything they would need to complete the project, including paper, scissors and paint. As well, the bags included a copy of the original artwork, a simple How To guide, and fun facts about the artist. A later packet included a “Cézanne in a Bag” project containing a print of a Paul Cezanne still life with apples along with all materials and apples they would need to copy the painting.
As children returned to club sites, Vaden delivered her instructions and materials to the Haden Building at Dream Fields for an introduction to the work of Vincent van Gogh and his famous “Starry Night.” Fast forward to the present and the bright art studio within the new clubhouse where, in February, children met the African American artist Jacob Lawrence and interpreted a painting from his Migration Series during Black History Month. And now at the end of March, it’s back to Cézanne—this time his wonderful landscape painting “Mont Sainte-Victoire.” “With every session, the kids get more creative,” says Youth Program Director Timika Croxton. “We can’t wait to see what Ann will come up with next.”