In September, students from Romeo Public School visited artists at Art in the Park.
Art In The Park captivates local students
By Steve Rice, Stratford Beacon Herald
Thursday, September 15, 2016 9:37:39 EDT AM
Artist Kim McCarthy describes her work to Romeo Public School pupils including Jordan Aikman, Caydence Knights, Maya Law and Grace Kokkas during their trip to Art in the Park on Wednesday. (SCOTT WISHART/The Beacon Herald)
“Amazing,” exclaimed eight-year-old Jordan Aikman.
“For my first time here, I am loving it!” enthused Caydence Knights, 10.
The two girls were experiencing Art In The Park for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, along with two dozen classmates from Joan Dixon’s Grade 4-5 class at Romeo Public School.
The short field trip was just the start of a project that will see the students return to the Lakeside Drive location at a later date to interview one of the artists and find out who they are, what inspires them and why they show their work each week in Stratford.
“I wanted to expose the students to different artists and find out what their passions and interests are, (to learn) that all sorts of people can be artists and that there are artists right here in Stratford,” said Dixon. “And I want them to believe in themselves as artists.”
Dixon planned the trip while visiting Art In The Park this summer and meeting up with encaustic artist Kim McCarthy, who retired to Stratford after teaching in the Toronto area for 30 years.
“As a retired teacher it just sang to my heart when she talked to me,” McCarthy said Wednesday between answering questions from inquisitive students. “I think it’s fantastic to get young people out here and aware of what we’re doing.
“People come from all over the world to experience Stratford and sometimes we don’t take advantage of what our own community is offering us.”
Only a few minutes into Wednesday’s visit Jordan had chosen her favourite artist, who she was hoping to interview on Sunday.
“The animals he painted look so real – I don’t know how he did it,” she said.
Her friend Kirsten Drepaul, 9 – also visiting Art In The Park for the first time — said she really liked the colourful art and could envision herself becoming an artist.
Caydence paints, draws and takes photos at home and was having difficulty choosing which artist to interview. But she said part of the exercise was to meet the artists, “see why they want to do that, and get the courage to do art and to show it.”
While the focus Wednesday was on art, the trip also continued the school’s practice of making connections within the community to help the students learn. The lessons on this trip, like others, would be threaded throughout different parts of the curriculum, Dixon said.
“Our focus for the next few months is building community so we’re trying to have our students understand the importance of being an active member in our community,” she said. “We start within our classroom and making it a better place. Then our school, Stratford, Perth County.
“Even when you’re only 10 years old, you can still make a difference.”
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