(Photo by Scott Welton, Staff)
"I just like to paint and draw and all sorts of stuff. I like to paint horses, dogs, dolphins. I like to paint anything," agreed Catherine Jackson, 9. "Maybe because it's sticky - I like messy stuff."
The appeal of Sikeston Missouri Art Inc.'s summer Art in the Park program for children ages 6-11 is even more obvious to parents: the mess of painting and other art projects happens somewhere else.
Sheri Jackson found out about the program from her friend, Sikeston High School art teacher Ginger Miller, who is teaching the summer's art classes for the program along with Linda Melkersman, an art teacher for New Madrid High Central High School.
"I'm always looking for things for the kids to do," said Jackson. "Especially artistic things."
Other art teachers and artists in the community have also contacted SMARTS about participating, according to Terri Matthews, SMARTS administrator.
"We're going to have a tent set up," Matthews said. "Look for the 'Art in the Park' tent. If it rains, we'll move down to the SMARTS office at Front and Kingshighway."
Art in the Park's first session is scheduled for 10 a.m. until noon Wednesday at American Legion Park with sessions taking place each following Wednesday until school starts.
"They have to call the office and enroll beforehand - we need to have enough adults there," Matthews said. Sessions will be filled on a first come, first served basis, and the cost is $10 per child per session which covers both the art lesson and the art supplies.
"Each class will be a certain project," said Matthews. "They'll do a project and complete it that day."
Projects planned for this summer include: mask making, print making, weaving, sponge painting, making designs or pictures with glue and string and more.
Those lucky enough to help prepare for the event by painting the Arts in the Park tent endorsed the program heartily - especially the painting part.
"It was messy," said Tanner Williams, 10, of his first tent-painting experience. "I like to draw and paint because you can do what you want."
"You get to paint different pictures," said Olivia Riggins, 6. Olivia's favorite subjects to paint are "a little baby cat, trees, flowers - that's my favorite." Her favorite color is "red-violet because it's a pretty color and it's red and violet and makes a pretty flower."
Gabe Wheeler, 6, likes painting "because it's fun," he said - especially mixing colors. "I like to paint animals and paint some houses, and that's all," he added.
"Art is fun because I like all different colors," said Byron Miller, 6. "I like to draw and make things."
Ben Jackson, 7, thinks art is "cool" and likes to paint family pets like his dog, his old cat and fish. His favorite color? "Green - lime green," Ben said, "because it's light. And I like dark green."
"My favorite thing about art is mixing colors and making swirls," said 8-year-old Caroline Jackson - especially when she gets to use her hands instead of a brush. "Ooo! It felt good - I couldn't even get my hands apart," she said. "I like getting my hands gooey."
"Ben got it all over him," she added, laughing. "He looked like the Hulk!"
To enroll or for more information, call SMARTS at 471-3888.