A Stroke Of Genius

Larkin Arts To Offer Youth Summer Art Programs

Posted: June 21, 2013

Artistic mediums incorporated by the Larkin Arts Youth Summer Arts Program include painting, photography, weaving and more. (Photo by Justin Falls / DN-R File)
Matthew Schseffer, 7, uses a hot glue gun and pipe cleaners to put the finishing touches on the roof of his creation “The Seasons House” on June 28, 2012, at James Madison University’s studio center. This year, Larkin Arts will host a Youth Summer Art Program in the space that opened last year. (Photo by Justin Falls / DN-R File)
This month, after 12 years of teaching, Valerie Smith will leave her position as an art teacher at Skyline Middle School.

“It’s bittersweet; I love my students so much, but it will be exciting to put all my energy into one place,” she says.

Smith already has the perfect space in mind: Larkin Arts — the art center she opened last August in downtown Harrisonburg.

The center offers lessons, rents out studios, sells art supplies and hosts occasional exhibits.

The center’s latest project, however, is starting its first Youth Summer Arts Program.

YSAP offers a variety of classes, which run from June 10 to Aug. 16.

With a maximum of 10 children per class, Smith says instructors will be able to accommodate all students, regardless of their artistic ability.

“They’re hand-picked,” she says of the program’s instructors, all of whom are certified art teachers. “They’re all just experts in their field.”

While Smith respects the art programs offered at many public schools, she thinks attending summertime classes offers children a chance at in-depth creative learning.

“With the smaller class size, and the three-hour sessions, you can get so much accomplished,” she says.

“It’s nice to have that enrichment time.”

Smith, who’s passionate about all forms of art, believes it beneficial for children to learn to express themselves in positive ways.

“[Art is] an amazing outlet, and you don’t even have to talk,” she explains.

“When you make something, and your hands are engaged, your mind is just able to process. It’s a positive release.”

The Youth Summer Arts Program at Larkin Arts in Harrisonburg hosts three-hour classes Monday-Friday. Morning classes are 9 a.m.-noon. Afternoon classes are 1-4 p.m.

Children who register for morning and afternoon classes — and wish to stay through lunch — may do so for an extra $25. All classes are $85 dollars per 15 hours of instruction.

For enrollment information, visit larkinarts.com.

Contact Katie King at 574-6271 or kking@dnronline.com.

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