Studying the arts for youngsters is alive and well thanks to Victoria Hofmo, who has spearheaded the new All Arts After-School Program at the Ridge Creative Center located at the First Free Evangelical Church.
The program, which began this past September, has given young students the opportunity to explore their creative side, including culinary arts, drawing, poetry and music. On Friday, October 10, students had their first exhibit, “Early Autumn,” inspired by the change of seasons.
“They like being here. We’re just starting out and I think it’s been a big success,” said Hofmo. “It’s such a nice group of kids. They’re so well behaved. And they get along so nicely. It’s so easy to work with them and do projects.”
Although it’s early in the program, the students have hit the ground running. “We’re doing projects all the time including culinary arts,” noted Hofmo. “Right now we do a lot of visual arts. We also do music. We try to have a theme with different things attached to it.”
Music about autumn was used throughout the process to inspire the art, which includes water colors and drawings of buildings. The space was given fall décor to celebrate the season.
Parents were thrilled to see their children display their creativity in front of their peers. “I’ve known Victoria for years and one of the things I really like about her program is that she really cares about bringing creativity to that afterschool space,” said Jessica Jackson. “That’s why I wanted my kid here. They don’t get a very robust arts education in school so it’s really a nice balance for him. He loves being here.”
Third grader Camilo Casanova recited his poem and playing some instruments as well. “I’m having lots of fun. I like the buildings I drew and the music I played,” he said.
First grader Magdalena Sarcos agreed. “I love it here,” she said. “My favorite thing to do was drawing buildings.”
“It’s an ideal combination and compliment to their academics which are already rigorous and competitive,” said Magdalena’s father Ron. “So it’s nice for the kids to have a guided outlet that will feed into their creativity. Ultimately, children have so much creativity that is waiting to explode. We’re very happy about this program. It’s ultimately a stimulation and it’s going to spill into academics.”
Although the program is just a month in, Hofmo is excited about its future. “We believe that every child and adult needs and deserves time to explore, innovate and create,” she said in an email. “We encourage this through the study of art, culture, language, history and science, by honing existing skills and fostering new discoveries.