Summer art classes at Betsy Peterson Designs encourage creativity

Allison Ullmann Staff
Betsy Peterson talks with Maddie McDevitt about adding a pop can and plastic fork to her found items sculpture during one of the art class sessions on July 10. PHOTO BY ALLISON ULLMANN/THE PERRY CHIEF

Maddie McDevitt pulled out a pop can and a plastic fork from her found objects bag during a summer art class inside Betsy Peterson Designs on July 10.

Betsy Peterson suggested McDevitt run the fork through the can. The green plastic fork was then inserted into the can at an angle and placed inside McDevitt’s box.

On the other side of the room, Ellie Hughes picked up a fishing bobber, put glue on the bottom and attached it to a cardboard toilet paper roll.

The found objects were part of a unit on artist Louis Nevelson during the Betsy Peterson Designs art class. This was the third year for the art classes.

Peterson said the focus this year was on 3-D sculptures, with a particular focus on Nevelson. Nevelson, 1899-1988, created sculptures from found objects on New York city streets.

Peterson encouraged the art class participants to bring in their own objects from home to create unique sculptures.

Delaney Platt was busy gluing wood scraps together to form a staircase.

“You can express yourself and use anything you want,” she said of the 3-D sculpture.

Lydia Nelsen was gluing a plastic frog in her sculpture across the room. She liked learning about Nevelson’s sculptures using found items.

“I think she was pretty cool. She made these sculptures and used stuff that you could find walking around. Everyday items,” Nelsen said.

Nelsen had her own bag of found items she was using for her sculpture. She liked the fact that items from her house could be turned into something new.

The art class then turned its attention to the fiber arts later in the week. The Fiber Art Fair held earlier this year generated interest in the fiber arts and Peterson wanted to keep that going. She invited local spinners and weavers to come to the art class. The participants also got the chance to try felting and knot-tying.

“Just kind of mix it up and give them a different way to create and use the elements of design, form, texture and color,” Peterson said. “This year we’re focusing on texture a lot because of the fibers and all these found objects.”

One change to this year’s art class was splitting up the various ages. Past art classes had featured a morning and afternoon session with ages ranging from 5-11. This year, the morning session was for ages 5-7 while the afternoon session was for ages 8-11.

“So really pushing to talk more about elements or artists or how they feel about something,” Peterson said of the older group.

That group was busy working on their sculptures on July 10. Peterson challenged them to find a way to add balance to those sculptures using items like nuts and bolts.

The sculptures and other art work created by the art class participants will be on display from 11-12:30 p.m. on Friday, July 13.

The public art show will feature food, demonstrations, art and more. Peterson encourages family, friends, neighbors and community members to come out and see the work created by the art class students throughout the week.