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Kids turn trash into take-home masterpieces at ArtSPARK

Children had an opportunity to express their creativity while learning about some creative ways to make art.

On Saturday, kids attending the ArtSPARK workshop at the Troy University International Arts Center had a chance to get a sneak peek at the gallery exhibit of Janet Nolan (1942-2019). Nolan was a Montgomery artist that took the inspiration for her art from trash and recycling. She used everyday objects that are normally thrown away and turned them into sculptures and brushes used to paint.

After viewing Nolan’s exhibit and talking with IAC Curator and Director Carrie Jaxon, children took inspiration from Nolan’s “Reimagining the Everyday” exhibit and tried recycling objects into their own sculptures.

“This exhibit has a lot of recycled art,” Jaxon said. “The children were able to take a lot away from that. Consumerism is part of life and this exhibit makes us stop and think about that.

“It was fun to watch kids look at the art and then find things they could work into their own art. Children identify with movement, color and shapes. They may not be able to connect with other types of art, but this type of art is very engaging for them.”

Jaxon invited Kristy Drinkwater from Make Art Troy to be a guest instructor for the children at Art SPARK.

“This was an exhibit that people with kids identified with and it made art accessible to the little people,” Drinkwater said. “We wanted the children be inspired by the artist. We talked about the materials she used and how she didn’t throw things away, she gave them new life.

“We had similar supplies, so the exhibit gave ideas to the children. They started with a large lid and used the exhibit as inspiration. Even though they were working with the same supplies, all of their art was different. They were able to personalize it in different ways.”

After spending some time making art, the children were able to explore more of the IAC. Jaxon said ArtSPARK is a play on the fact the IAC is a cultural arts park. The IAC had several fun activities planned for the children around the center as well as the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park. Children were able to go on an arts scavenger hunt around the IAC, take a tour of the terracotta warriors and feed the fish and turtles in the park.

“The enriching part about ArtSPARK is we pull in people from the community that may not normally come in to the [IAC],” Jaxon said. “We offer them a hands-on activity they can do with their family. It’s a great opportunity for us to offer an experience they normally wouldn’t have.”

Jaxon said the IAC would offer another ArtSPARK workshop in September, but a date hasn’t been set.