By Danielle Haynes
The Tonawanda News
NORTH TONAWANDA — North Tonawanda’s Project 308 Gallery may host shows throughout the year by accomplished professional and student artists, but now owner Natalie Brown wants to get the little ones in on the action as well.
From 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, the gallery will hold a Creation Stations event, in which children can explore hands-on a little bit of everything art has to offer.
The open-house event features painting, music, dance, building and puppet-making for children from toddler ages to 9 years old.
Children can get the chance to have their artwork grace the walls of a gallery for the first time at the painting station, or, if they want, they can take it home, Brown said.
Music teacher of three years, Monica Graves, said she’ll be on hand to “provide the children the opportunity to listen to music, sing, move, dance and play rhythm instruments” in an effort to explore the more audible arts. Graves, a substitute teacher in North Tonawanda and other area districts, said she plans to bring drum-like instruments younger children can master.
While kids can take part in just one or all Creation Stations, the culmination is a puppet show, complete with a stage built with repurposed materials in part by North Tonawanda artist Jessica Chiodo.
The stage and opportunity to create a puppet show, “show the children once it all comes together what they can get out of” the different art forms, she said.
Brown said she, Chiodo and other area residents came up with the idea for the event based on dwindling resources for arts programs in area schools.
“We’re giving the kids an opportunity to interact with art because people are afraid kids won’t get to see and feel and interact with it” in a school setting, Brown said.
Art education is important because “it’s a route for a lot of people’s lives and careers later in life,” she added. “If I didn’t have the art programs I did as a kid I would never have opened the gallery, so it’s very important to me.”
Graves said she’s had a hard time finding a permanent position because of cuts to music programs in the area, believes those cuts “negatively” impact young students.
“There’s more pressure on tests and preparing for tests, and not enough time for students to be creative and express themselves that way,” she said.
For more information about the Creation Stations program, call the gallery at 523-0068.
Contact Sunday Lifestyle editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116, or follow her on Twitter at @DanielleHaynes1.
IF YOU GO • WHAT: Creation stations • WHEN: 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday • WHERE: Project 308 Gallery, 308 Oliver St., North Tonawanda • COST: Free for children 2 and younger; $3 for ages 3 to 4; $5 for children 5 and up • MORE INFORMATION: Call 523-0068