As parents, we are always taken aback when our children begin to spread their wings and show us what they are capable of.
Throughout all the stages in a child’s life, these transformations are perhaps the most fun to witness when they are very young. Not to say the wonders of teenagers aren’t a sight to behold, but as a parent it is with a particular delight that we watch our kids make their way from our laps and head out into the world, so to speak. One day they are tiny infants, reminding us that our one primal duty in this life is to protect them and to care for all their earthly needs. Before you know it, they are walking, then running, and babbling, then communicating. And just as you get comfortable with their new escapades, they want to express themselves in newer ways. I think that just as soon as they can grasp a paintbrush or put two blocks together, the creative process has begun. This opens an art-filled, crafting, curiosity-inducing stage in not only the child’s life, but also for the parent.
When my boys were very young, we were always on the hunt for new and inexpensive venues for them to try new activities and to socialize with other kids. One of our favorite finds was the North Port Art Center. We loved their free art classes, still a vital program serving the artist needs of children from all over Sarasota County. On most Saturdays we would head over to the local center and take part in what were always well-organized and unique projects. These were never your run-of-the-mill kids’ crafts. You always came home with something everyone could appreciate, not just us obligated parents. I still have beautiful baskets made entirely of popsicle sticks, clay bowls that I use as potpourri dishes, and homemade paper that was so lovely, I kept it. They learned about many different artists and the different mediums they used to showcase their talents. And, the classes were (and are still) led by artist volunteers who lovingly gave of their time and skills to make a room full of kids feel like Picasso for the day.
The Saturday classes led us to enrolling the kids in several summer camps held at the North Port Art Center also. We found the prices to be affordable compared to other camps, and the finished projects were phenomenal. In addition to the camps, a number of weekly classes are offered at the NPAC including those on pottery, pastel painting, glass art, and a host of other interesting events including private parties and “wine and unwind parties.”
The “Free Saturdays” at North Port Art Center are held every Saturday from 10 AM to 11:30 AM during the normal school calendar year. They are open to children ages 5 to 14 and serve approximately 20 kids in each class. The North Port Art Center is located at 5950 Sam Shapos Way in North Port. I would highly recommend letting your kids spend a great Saturday morning at the North Port Art Center. Using their hands to create something tangible rather than exercising their thumbs on Xbox? Win/win! Please visit their website at North Port Art Center.org for hours of operation and class schedule.
Photos from North Port Art Center FB Page