School's out. Make art.: Local teacher gives ideas to keep the kids busy

June 06, 2013|By CHRIS COPLEY |
  • Andy Iverson teaches the Fundamentals 2.0 art class at the Creation Station art studio at 28. South Potomac St. in Hagerstown Tuesday. Iverson will be teaching several more art classes for kids begining in June.
Colleen McGrath / Colleen McGrath

School’s out! Let the fun begin! Now kids have hours of unstructured time every day to play, relax, explore or do whatever.

Except that, all too often, it doesn’t take much time before hours of unstructured time turns to hours of boredom with nothing to do.

Andy Iverson has some suggestions.

Iverson is an artist and art teacher. His colorful, abstract paintings have been in several shows in Washington County, and the Washington County Arts Council featured Iverson’s work in a solo show in 2011.

He teaches art during the school year at Pangborn Elementary School. During summer, Iverson offers art classes for children at his studio in downtown Hagerstown.

Art breeds creativity
Iverson said kids don’t need to take a class to make art. Usually, all they need is some materials and an opportunity. Summertime provides lots of opportunity.

“Most kids love to paint,” he said. “But anything new, things they haven’t experienced, they like. Even just crayons. If you give them crayons but cut the paper different, like into triangles, they get excited. Anything that changes it up.”
The key thing is to set aside time or set aside inhibitions and do it. Make art with your kids.

“I’ve heard a lot of adults say, ‘I’m not an artist.’ Well, you don’t have to be. You just need to do something,” Iverson said. “The kids aren’t going to remember what you’re drawing. They’re going to remember that you were using something to be creative.”

Art is more than painting
“My students, all the time, they think that to be an artist, you have to draw or paint or make ceramics,” Iverson said. “But there’s a million other things you can do.”

Make art with what you have at home: Colored paper and buttons, markers and a T-shirt, crayons and a cardboard box, stamps and an ink pad, icing and cookies.
Need more ideas? Iverson suggested going online.

“There’s a lot of resources you can find on the Internet,” he said. “One of the best things is going on Pinterest (at I’ve got all kinds of ideas there.”

To get started:
 Take an hour and sit down with children and markers or crayons. Draw shapes on a piece of paper and let young children color them in.

 Set a doll or truck on the table and everyone draw it. The idea is not to be perfect, but to enjoy the act of creation. And make art with the kids. “If you don’t do something, a lot of times the kids won’t,” Iverson said.

 Try “automatic drawing” —a fancy word for doodling. Hold a pencil, marker or crayon and allow your hand to move around the paper, making lines and coloring shapes without thinking about it. Iverson said many of his paintings started as doodles made while he was talking on the phone.

 When you’re done, hang up your work. Everyone likes to see their finished work on display.

Art illustrates life
Art lessons provide ways to learn lessons about life, Iverson said. When you make a mistake, troubleshoot the problem and try to make something good out of it. Also, learn to accept other people’s criticism of your art and learn from it. Also, have confidence in your art ideas.

Iverson said lessons like this pop up in his class regularly.

“I just told my fifth-graders, ‘Hopefully, you learned something about art and something about life today,’” he said. “A lot of times, I don’t plan it. You overhear kids talking about something, and art class turned into life class.”

If you go ...
WHAT: Summer art classes for children
WHEN: Different classes set at various times, Monday, June 10, through Friday, June 14; and Monday, June 17, to Friday, June 21
WHERE: Creation Station, 28 S. Potomac St., Studio 301, downtown Hagerstown
COST: $100 to $160 for two-week classes, 60 to 90 minutes per day; Bible-based class is free with donations requested

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