For children, arts and crafts are nothing without getting your hands messy. And they’re even better when families can be involved. Both elements were included at Second State Press earlier this month for its PECO Second Saturdays workshop.
Second State Press is a communal printmaking workshop housed in the Crane Arts building in Olde Kensington. They invite artists and the community to explore silk screen printing. This month’s workshop centered around children making silk screen prints of the brain.
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Sophie Sanders, a working artist and teacher at Tyler School of Art, was chosen to instruct this month’s workshop. Sanders has been researching the brain, and Jennifer McTague, co-founding executive director of Second State Press, thought this topic would translate well into a workshop.
The theme allowed children to explore healthy foods and activities in a group environment. Each child was able to take home a silk screen print of the brain they made by rolling neon paint onto the screen press.
Felt cutouts, splattered paint and stamps galore cluttered the tables while the children got to work. The first step was to draw, cut and paste healthy foods onto stamp blocks. Parents and Second State Press staff supervised while allowing the children to be creative.
“I made a carrot, fish, apples, and blueberries,” said Illse Smith, a child who enjoyed the activities. “I’ve got a lot of favorite foods.”
Lauren Pakradooni, education coordinator at Second State Press, assisted the children and families during the workshop.
“I think exploring the tactile and hands-on art making is really exciting to them,” she said. “And what’s great is that the structure of all the programs is centered around families working together on projects, so the adults can help and assist kids and see their ideas through.”
McTague also said the workshops are a great way for families to connect.
“A lot of times there are activities meant for children to do independently, but we really like the idea of families working together, sharing ideas and collaborating around a certain topic,” she said. “I think that both the children and the parents or guardians learn a lot from each other when doing it.”
It seemed to hold true that children love getting messy the most: “I liked making the screen print and rolling out the paint,” Illse said.
McTague said all artists are welcome to submit proposals for workshop themes. All workshops are free, open to the public and held from 12 to 2 p.m. every second Saturday of the month at 1400 N. American St., B103.
-Text, images and video by Lauren Brown.