A day off from school and into the arts

Program at Carroll Arts Center entertains kids with arts and crafts, snacks and a movie.

Education Beat


School's out for the day. It's raining and chilly. What to do with the kids?

The Carroll County Arts Council has a suggestion: Take them to the Carroll Arts Center for a "School's Out ... Art's In" day of arts and crafts, and a classic movie with popcorn and juice.

That's what the parents of 25 youngsters did Friday while school was closed for a professional meeting day for teachers. Parents dropped off their 6- to 12-year-olds shortly before 10 a.m., and for the next five hours the children decorated Halloween bags, painted tennis shoes or T-shirts and made holiday crafts including masks, ate lunch, then watched The Wizard of Oz.

"It's good for the kids to do a fun craft on a day off and be with others in a relaxed atmosphere," said Susan Williamson, the arts council's visual arts coordinator, who supervised the crafts.

Tami Moore of Westminster took her daughter, Zoe, 10, and nephew Johnny Woodrum, 7, of Sykesville to the program.

"Zoe's favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz, so this is a perfect way for her to spend the day," Tami Moore said. "Johnny likes to do crafts."

Dorothy is Zoe's favorite character, and she asked her mother to braid her hair to look like Dorothy's. But Moore wouldn't let her wear her Dorothy dress, not knowing what kind of activities she would take part in.

Zoe painted her shoes red, with gold-colored puffy paint and glitter. Her cousin Johnny painted a T-shirt the arts council had provided for those who didn't take a pair of shoes, old or new, to paint.

On the back of his shirt, Johnny painted a blue dragon with red fire coming out of its mouth. Later, he added red and purple glitter to the fire and carried the shirt around the room showing it to the other children.

"I'm going to be a dragonologist when I grow up," Johnny said.

Williamson was so impressed that she took a picture of Johnny and his T-shirt.

Kristy Fanning of Westminster brought her daughter Kylah, 7, who enjoys art and music and had been to the Arts Council's summer camp.

"Kylah has never seen The Wizard of Oz, so I'm coming back to see it with her," Kristy Fanning said when she dropped off her daughter.

Kylah also painted her shoes red, then made a paper bat and pipe cleaner spider.

Some of the youngsters knew each other from school or had been friends since they were younger, like Eliza Buergenthal of Owings Mills, whose mother is a local shop owner, and Emily Wilcox of Westminster, both 9.

The two girls, with Eliza's sister Chloe, 6, painted their shoes, but Chloe decided she didn't like hers and began to cry.

Even Williamson telling her, "I think they're beautiful," didn't help. Tears streamed down her face as she struggled to decorate her multicolored shoes with puffy paint. A Halloween mask made a few minutes later seemed to go better.

"When you have that many age groups and abilities ... some were content to just paint shoes, and others made every craft," Williamson said.

Pleased with this first "School's Out ... Art's In" program, Williamson is looking forward to the next one Dec. 28, when Hook, starring Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams, will be shown and the crafts will have a pirate theme.

"We're going to make it a traditional thing. It's good for working parents and nonworking parents," said Sandy Oxx, the arts council's executive director.

School's Out ... Art's In programs will be held Dec. 28, Feb. 21 and April 17. The cost is $30 for Arts Council members and $35 for nonmembers. Information: 410-848-7272.


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