The Young Creators Art Workshop was instructed by artists Claudia Marulanda, Frank Somma, Albertus Joseph, Natalia Zamparini, Matt Cauley and Deanna Westendorf, who each taught the children about painting, themes and expressing themselves. The children learned the basics of acrylic painting, including mixing paint colors as well as highlighting and adding shadows for depth. The day’s activity involved showcasing what courage means to the child along with incorporating the symbol of a heart.
Each painting was as unique as the kid painting it. The artwork ranged from a simple heart with strong arms to firemen putting out a fire to swimming in an ocean with unknown creatures lurking about. One child, Isabella Letic, painted her friends and family surrounding a heart and named the painting “The Dawn of Courage.”
For brothers Daniel and Angel Franco, the art workshop gave them an opportunity to expand on art skills learned in school. Their mother, Sayonara Plua, was in disbelief that skilled professionals — who were responsible for creating sculptures, illustrations, graphic design and portraits — were on hand to teach her kids about art. Zamparini worked one-on-one through the afternoon as the boys completed some of the most detailed work.
“We like to do arts together at home; I think a passion for art gets passed down generations because I loved art as a child, but they’re lucky because they have school and workshops to pursue it,” Plua said. “Even though I went to school for visual arts, when I was a young child, workshops like this weren’t available for me, so it’s nice to know that it’s here for them.”
Yoko Wallace, a Long Island City resident, brought her five-year-old son Kento to the club to learn more about the swimming programs and learned that he had an interest in art after he spent an hour painting with Marulanda. Adalicia Melendez, who takes her son, Nikola Baletin, to piano classes nearby, decided to scope out the activities that the club has to offer after receiving an email from his school. The preview allowed him to try art and some sports that he wants to learn further.
Other workshops from the preview included children’s yoga, dance classes, basketball, soccer, karate, a hands-on cooking class, led by City Harvest, as well as a professional wrestling course, taught by the JWA Pro Wrestling School, and an introduction to the Boy Scouts.
For those interested in theatre, the in-house theater company, Ophelia Theatre Group, also spoke to the kids about the basics of acting and stagecraft. One of the popular activities on Saturday was the aquatic program, where kids were able to sign up for new classes as well as tryout for the swim team.
For more information about any of the programs held at the Variety Boys and Girls Club, visit www.vbgcq.org.