Arts Clayton Gallery Coordinator Courtney Hurst offers help to the children attending the gallery's Creation Station Saturday. The kids were creating a piece of art using train pieces. (Staff Photo: Heather Middleton)
JONESBORO — A white table set with markers, crayons, felt, glue and glitter needed something to finish off its look — imagination.
The table stood in the back room of the Arts Clayton Gallery. The room’s walls, the building’s original brick, hold paintings by some of Georgia’s finest artists.
But nobody Saturday afternoon was admiring the wall art, they were busy looking at their own glue and glittered-filled creations.
Taking a cue from Howard Finster, a nationally-recognized folk art artist from North Georgia, Gallery Coordinator Courtney Hurst led a Creation Station class with his art in mind.
Each child received similar pieces of paper — containing train pieces, wheels, smoke stack and train body.
The young students took it from there. They began cutting out the pieces and arranging them on blue backgrounds. Each train decorated in a different fashion using the gallery’s materials.
“My train is going to Las Vegas,” said Shamya Bowman, 13.
Shamya’s brother, Shamar, 5, declared his train was headed for space.
Shontelisha Bowman helped her left-handed son Shamar cut out his train pieces and got as much glitter on her as on her son.
“Both my kids love art,” she said. “This is fun. It’s a place where kids can get messy and have fun.”
Ayanna Dixon brought her daughter, Brianna Dixon.
Ayanna said her daughter was denied entry to advanced art classes in school. She said attending Creation Station was a way to foster her daughter’s love of art.
“They said she didn’t follow instruction,” Ayanna explained. “The problem is, if they tell her to draw a house she won’t just draw the house, she draws everything else too. She’ll draw the house, trees, flowers and road.”
The 7-year-old followed her artistic heart and decorated her train with numbers, hearts, glitter and foam lion heads. Her train, she said was headed for London, so she drew Big Ben in the background.
By the end of class, Hurst, too, was covered in glitter.
“I love working with the kids,” she said. “I love seeing what they come up with and their stories about their artwork.”
Elizabeth Gower is director of administration and education at the gallery. She plans the Creation Station.
“This is a wholesome, fun activity that’s reasonably priced,” she said. “I love being creative and working with the kids.”
Arts Clayton hosts the class monthly, each with a different theme.
The Aug. 23 class will focus on the life of Georgia O’ Keeffe. Children will have a chance to work with watercolors. Cost is $5.
Kids will make a mosaic birdhouse Sept. 13 using pebbles, glass beads and found objects inspired by Henry Ransom Earthscapes. Cost is $5.
Students will dabble with cameras in the Photography 101 class Oct. 18. Gower said students will set up their own still life, lighting and take pictures. While the photos are printing, the kids will decorate a picture frame.
In November and December, the gallery will host two classes each month. Nov. 24, students will make “Frozen”-themed ornaments. Kids will make superhero ornaments Nov. 25.
Students will have the chance to make personalized holiday ornaments Dec. 6. They’ll make paper ornaments Dec. 13.
Prices for the October through December classes have not been set. Each class begins at 11 a.m. and reservations are required. Call 770-477-5826 for more information or to reserve a spot.
Arts Clayton Gallery is at 136 Main St. in Jonesboro. Visit them online at www.artsclayton.org or www.facebook.com/ArtsClayton.