“The artist in residency program brought a creative process to the library that appealed to many children,” explains Deb Mikus, Branch Manager at Lawncrest Library. She is referring to the recent Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership event that paired artist Lynn Denton with local young students. This summer Ms. Denton worked with children to create projects that went on display at the library. We spoke with Ms. Mikus about the results of the course.
PAEP: Can you explain what this experience brought to Lawncrest?
DM: Although there have been art/craft programs in the past presented at the library, this was a chance to interact with a real artist for several weeks. Ms. Denton was a big part of why this was such a success. She not only introduced and educated the participants to new methods and materials used to create the projects, but she also developed a very positive and nurturing relationship with the class that resulted in their fantastic creativity and enjoyment.
PAEP: Did you notice a change in the students? How did education through art appeal to them?
DM: We were fortunate to be able to showcase the works in our community meeting room. Many people who attended the events held in that room throughout the summer often commented on the colorful pieces, and even more remarkable was that many of the preschoolers who attended story times in the room were entranced with the display.
I noticed that those who attended most frequently were excited to see what the “project” was for that week and eager to get started. As time passed, it became easier for some to express and share with the group what inspired them. I would say that because of the supportive nature of Ms. Denton, they gained confidence in their ability and in themselves. They learned while having fun and being creative. It was interesting to hear the kids talk about what happened each week and realize they absorbed and remembered what Ms. Denton told them.