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Children Learn Through Art at Hastings Library

HASTINGS, N.Y. -- Having hands-on activities are said to be some of the best ways to keep kids entertained during the summer. So what better activity than an art workshop that lets children express themselves while also learning a little history?

"The kids are great because they have such imagination and they really go with it," said Helen Calamari, instructor of the art history workshop at Hastings Public Library.

An art workshop was held Tuesday afternoon at the library, led by Calamari and her fellow instructor Jackie Ritch. Both instructors are certified teachers with degrees in education and art history.

The workshop has two sessions, one designed for students who are entering first and second grade and then another for students entering grades three through seven.

The first half of the class is an art history lesson on a particular artist and in the second half of the class the kids get to make their own painting. Calamari and Ritch gave a lesson on artist Charles Demuth on Tuesday and afterwards had the kids make a painting imitating one of Demuth's famous works.

"It's incredible how much they do remember," Ritch said.

Each child was given their own spot on one of the three long tables covered in plastic tarp to make their art. The instructors then provided paper, brushes, pencils and paint for the children to draw. Calamari and Ritch routinely play music in the background while everyone is painting to set a relaxed atmosphere. As each child was given the freedom to paint in whichever way they wanted, the instructors walked around giving instruction and assistance to those who wanted it.

With many art programs around the country being cut due to budget restrictions, workshops like these have become even more vital.

"It's extremely important," Ritch said. "They're coming out of these classes with such a repertoire of art under their belt, it’s amazing."

This particular art program, which is funded by the Friends of the Library, has been running for the past six years and is held cost-free several times throughout the summer.

"These kids are really fortunate because a lot of these classes in the city are very expensive classes and all these kids need to do is register and come," Calamari said.

For more information on this program and others at the Hastings Public Library click here .

Do your kids participate in any of the programs at the library? What do you think about programs like this? Let us know below in the comments section or on our Facebook page or Twitter .

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