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Let me begin by admitting that I am not artistic. Nope. Not even in the slightest. I have greige walls in my house, I do not scrapbook, and when I look at modern art, well, I see paint thrown haphazardly on canvas. I guess that is why I work at a nature center. But don’t throw me to the art critics yet!

I do love and appreciate the artistic process. The rush of creativity coupled with the exploration of colors, textures, and the freedom that exists when the rules are gone and the lines no longer dictate where self -expression must exist. Children are especially in tune with this type of creative process and watching them light up, giddy with excitement or, get lost deep in concentration, brows furrowed, is an unrivaled joy. My own refrigerator and walls at home are plastered with my personal little artist’s masterpieces.

It was a sad day recently when the news broke that Artis, the amazing art nonprofit in Leavenworth, was closing its doors, but imagine my excitement when we (Wenatchee River Institute) were given the opportunity to continue the after school art program! Each Tuesday afternoon I am now eagerly awaiting the arrival of the school bus bringing our little band of boisterous artists and sharing in the adventure of exploring nature through the transformative (and fun! Did I mention fun?) lens of art.

Nature is art, after all. And the combination of the two sparks a deeper connection in kids that, hopefully, they will carry with them. Each 5 week session the torch will be passed to a new local artist. (The next session starts Jan. 10!) With each new medium experience and the inspiration of these little budding artists perhaps there is hope for me as an artist, as well… OK. Probably not. But I make a great art assistant in the classroom!

For more information about Art Academy, go to wenatcheeriverinstitute.org

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