Ina Gill, with the Sharp County Library Committee, invited the three area artists to help her come up with ideas.
She explained that she has been in contact with the Thea Foundation, about obtaining a grant for the Ash Flat Library's Kid's Art Club. The foundation is a Little Rock based group that assists with funding art related projects and curriculums in the state. Most noteworthy is the Arkansas A+ Schools program, touted as the nation's most successful arts-based, whole-school reform models. The grant would be used to provide seed money to establish the club, to help boost children's esteems though various art-related projects.
The group normally only assists schools, but the executive director asked Gill to submit an outline of activities, plans and guest artists for consideration in the grant.
Joining Gill in the meeting were local artists Dianne Reidling, who creates hand painted cards, watercolors and calligraphy work; Pat Dunlap, who assisted Gill in formulating the outline to submit to the grant commitee; and Cathy Demko, an artist who has a studio and paints western art, and also offeres her art locally at Stam' s in Highland. Demko stressed the importance of art to children as a means of self expression and a way to boost self esteem.
"When educating children, many people do not believe art is very important and stress sports in many schools. Let's face it, all kids do not like sports or may not be good at them," Demko said.
The ladies explained that by letting children know there are other things they can do, such as writing, music and art, they can better themselves and highlight their talents.
Gill said the tentative plans for the group are to meet two Thursday nights a month, from 6-7 p.m. at the Ash Flat Public Library.
Thursday night meetings were designed as not to conflict with high school football or church activities.
The children will be instructed by local artists and experience various hands-on activities. Gill explained that children will need to pre-register to ensure there are age appropriate art activities and materials available for every child.
"We want to open the doors to children and see those light bulbs come on," Gill said.
Information about dates and times of the Kid's Art Club meetings will be published in the Villager Journal as they become available.
Any local artists who are interested in performing demonstrations and assisting the children are welcome to call the library at 870-994-2658.