On select Wednesday afternoons in the ArtZone, we have the Art Books Crafts and Cookies Program (ABCC). ABCC is a free program in partnership with the Gadsden County Florida Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta offering reading, snacks, and art activities from 4-5 pm. Delta Sigma Theta members invite school groups and local families to participate which brings new visitors into Gadsden Arts.
Story Time takes place on the first Saturday of every month at 11 am with Ms. Kris, a partnership with the Gadsden County Public Library designed for children ages seven and under. The local librarian reads stories to the children and she incorporates songs and games after each books that she reads. After Story Time, many families stay for hours to make art and sing along to the music we have playing in the studio space. I often encourage older children to look through our Children’s Art Library and create a work of art based on one of the stories they read or an image that they like from these books, a fun way for children to learn by copying or interpreting the style of an illustrator.
Free Family Saturdays are a wonderful place for families throughout the community to meet other families and create art. My favorite Saturday moments involve seeing the parents or grandparents who bring children into the ArtZone become immersed in making art themselves. Many of them come in thinking they will just watch the children or entertain themselves on their phones, and somehow, they become intrigued in the projects and start creating art as well. Our most popular activity with adult visitors is the printmaking station; it’s easily adaptable for every skill level from young children to adults.
I am proud to be a part of Gadsden Arts. I love to hear visitors’ comments while in the ArtZone or galleries, and reading them on our facebook page. Working in the ArtZone and interacting with children and families from Gadsden and Leon counties has been an invaluable experience for me. I enjoy exposing children to new art techniques and being a part of a team that creates a fun and safe environment for kids to experiment with art and meet other families in the community.