Children’s Art Walk

The future of creativity

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

One of the best Christmas presents I ever received was a large, vibrantly colorful painting of a flower presented to me by one of my young nieces. I wasn’t sure what kind of bloom it was—it might’ve been a daisy, but it wasn’t white, so it could’ve been a zinnia—but that small detail didn’t matter to me one whit.

The seven-year-old who gifted me with the painting is now a teenager, but I still have two nieces under the age of 10 who take their artwork very seriously—one via drawing cartoons and the other who prefers to paint her face (when she can manage to get her mom to let her “borrow” her makeup). They’re both creative in their own ways, and, hopefully, will continue to be as they transition into adolescence. 

As anyone who’s spent significant amount of time around children can attest, as long as the mini-Michelangelos have a few materials at hand—such as paper, paint, crayons, pencils or simply a chunk of sidewalk and a few pieces of chalk—quite a lot of interesting things can happen.

Bellingham residents can get real-world examples of the many talents of local youth when Allied Arts takes the lead at the 13th annual Children’s Art Walk. The event, which happens from 6-9pm Fri., May 3, features hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of art created by schoolchildren.

And, while a few venues will invite viewers to come inside, one of the main highlights of the yearly event is simply strolling through the streets of downtown Bellingham and taking in the sheer number and variety of pieces of artwork hung in the windows of neighborhood businesses and provided for your viewing pleasure.

While it may seem like Bellingham has been turned into its own children’s art gallery overnight, the community event is actually a couple months in the making. First, schools must register well in advance so they can be paired with a business venue. Partnerships are then confirmed, meetings take place and art projects for the kids are planned.

Before being hung, the art must be glued to a piece of construction paper and—this is one of my favorite parts of viewing the works—an artist statement card must be written to go along with each piece of art. By noon on May 3, all art should be where it needs to be.

In many cases, the art will stay on display and can be perused throughout the month of May, so if you can’t make it the night of the Art Walk, don’t fret. However, those strolling through the city on the big night should make it a point to stop by Allied Arts and the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building at some point.

At Allied Arts, professional works by teaching artists in Whatcom County will be on display in honor of the statewide Arts Education Month, so viewers can get a look at pieces by those who are helping to teach burgeoning artists. At the Lightcatcher, there’ll be student art created with FIG educators, Wade King Elementary, and the Bellingham Sister Cities Association. Additionally, a children’s choral concert starts at 6:30pm and will feature performances by 30 cellists who range in age from 5-18. 

Per usual, the events surrounding the monthly Art Walk are free, so there’s really no excuse not to celebrate the wealth of creativity to be found in Whatcom County. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for the kids. They are our future, after all.

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