Smart parents recognize the value of art instruction as part of a child’s education. Research indicates that studying visual arts benefits a child in many ways, including enhanced self esteem and better academic performance.
In 1997, UCLA researcher James Catterall published the results of his study in which he analyzed school records of 25,000 students, as they moved from grade 8 to grade 10. He found that students who studied music and the arts had higher grades and scored better on standardized tests. The study also found that the results were even more pronounced in students who came from financially-challenged backgrounds.
Unfortunately today, due to budget cuts and the demands placed upon classroom time, many elementary schools do not have a dedicated art room or a paid art teacher on staff. The relies on parent volunteer art docents in elementary classrooms to provide art instruction. Rather than a weekly art lesson, many elementary students in the district receive art instruction in the classroom only once a month.
Sammamish is home to the , a Choice Middle School program of the Lake Washington School District. Unfortunately, admission to the popular program, which offers an arts enriched curriculum, is by lottery and many of the students who wish to enter the program do not land a spot.
Luckily, there are many good resources both for instruction and art supplies near Sammamish for parents who wish to “supplement” a child’s art education outside of the classroom.
Redmond Parks & Recreation department offers a number of reasonably-priced art classes for preschool age and up, including popular half-day summer camps. Classes include “Mini Monets” a “parent and tot” style class where kids 24 to 42 months make art with a parent or caregiver. There are pottery classes for kids of all ages offered at the new Clay Studio at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse. The studio is offering an upcoming “Saturday clay sampler” on March 5 for kids ages 6 to 13, who are accompanied by an adult. Young people who are 14 years old can attend without an adult. On March 18, the whole family might enjoy the evening “Cartooning Family Workshop” with award-winning editorial cartoonist Jeff Johnson. You can view the current class guide online at the Redmond Parks & Recreation website.
Other options near Sammamish for art instruction include Museo Art Academy in Issaquah on Front Street. In addition to many classes, Museo Art offers a popular “Pizza and Picasso Night” where kids ages 6 through 12 enjoy a Friday night pizza dinner and then make some great creations inspired by a famous artist. The upcoming session on Feb. 18 will feature the work of pop artist Andy Warhol and March 18 the work of Vincent Van Gogh. Register online on the Museo Art Academy website.
On the other side of the Plateau, you’ll find KidsArt in Redmond in the Bear Creek Shopping Center off Redmond Way and the Kirkland Arts Center located in the historic Peter Kirk Building on Market Street.
The Kirkland Arts Center offers many classes in a variety of media and techniques and for ages ranging from toddlers to teens. The Clay, Paint, Paper series for 6 to 8 year olds is a popular Wednesday afternoon class that introduces students to various mediums and techniques. Other classes for younger kids include drawing, clay and bookmaking. Teens can advance into portrait drawing and print making. The center offers extremely popular summer camps, which usually fill up fast. Members get to register early and receive a discount on classes. So, consider joining and you’ll get to take advantage of discounts to art supply stores including and Daniel Smith.
Art Supplies and Books
A shoebox with some crayons, color pencils, scissors, glue stick, a set of student pastels, pencil and eraser along with some blank paper is something to have on hand at home for your budding artist. You can get art supplies in Redmond at Ben Franklin, in Issaquah at Michaels and even at Fred Meyer in Redmond and Issaquah. For some great books and a bigger range of supplies, head to Daniel Smith in Bellevue or . Both stores have employees who also are artists and are happy to point you to the best materials for both your budget and your child’s interests.
Some great books to inspire your child’s interest in art include Seattle artist’s Carla Sonheim’s Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun, the Doodles, Scribbles and Squigglesseries by Taro Gomi and Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Style of the Great Masters by MaryAnn Kohl and Kim Solga.