The Richmond Register

June 26, 2014

'Art just for art's sake'

Youngsters learn to express themselves

By Machaela Ballard
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — In addition to molding clay, developing film and painting pictures, children in the Berea Summer Arts Camp are learning to express themselves in a healthy way, Jennifer Bellando, artist and painting teacher, said Wednesday.

The 9- to 12-year-olds who attend the camp are focused on one medium a day, but for the most part are allowed to freely experiment and learn within those mediums themselves, Bellando said.

On Wednesday, campers sat in front of canvases arranged in a circle. They were free to paint what they wanted, calling on camp advisors and peers when they needed assistance or advice.

The campers could learn skills specific to their own paintings, such as correcting mistakes or creating a background haze, to increase depth of field.

“Discovering colors and brush strokes they like helps the children find their own ways to express themselves in a healthy way,” Bellando said.

None of the 18 paintings were alike. Although the subjects included several trees and water scenes, the colors, styles and perceptions in each were different, the students noted.

“Kids live very structured lives,” Bellando said. “The times they are able to be creative is usually a solitary experience. But here, they can freely express themselves and see others doing it too.”

Several times during the workshop, campers walked around the circle to view the progress their peers had made. Volunteers told campers that taking a break from a work can give artists new perspectives.

“We hope the students can learn to express themselves,”  Bellando said, “and we also hope they learn the importance of art just for art's sake.”