How fortunate Jamestown kiddos are to have the arts in school as well as The Arts Center downtown. As important as athletics and exercise activities are for healthy bodies, the arts are important for mental and social growth as well. We crawl before we walk, and we draw before we write. Languages and even counting are learned using songs and imitating what others do is a natural learning model as children grow up.

It’s accepted now that music helps children learn. Annotating books with “key” hand-drawn images helps students learn unfamiliar data. In this digital world, it may not be convenient to do hands-on note-taking, but a simple pencil and paper can help any youngster become a better learner. Art classes are part of the added value of hands-on skills needed at all ages of growth.

The Arts Center downtown has valuable after school and Saturday classes for all ages. Whether it’s drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture or crafts, music or acting, each of those arts adds valuable positivity to the life of a child. Self-esteem grows with any class where a child expresses his or her feelings in a tangible way, whether on paper, canvas or clay. Nope, it doesn’t mean the child will become a famous artist after his or her first month of art classes. It does mean the child will become more attuned to personal inspiration and will learn skills when he or she sees his or her own creativity.

Linda Roesch was the artist in residence during the 2018-19 school year. It was her third time working in Jamestown with kids in classes at schools and The Arts Center. She posts positive reviews of her time here. Check her out at www.sketchingspot.com. Each year the Arts Center sponsors an “AIR” art teacher for classes in our schools. The Arts Center depends on donations and is subsidized to a small extent by grants and funding from Jamestown Tourism, legislative funding and the humanities. Like many other non-profit organizations, it depends on the generosity of donors for paying utilities and for a few salaried people.

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The Arts Center is open six days a week: Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteer help is always appreciated. For the past two years, it has had a summer Downtown Arts Market with singers and musicians performing in the park across Second Street at First Avenue. Owen Fritts designed the Prairie Grass Ballet sculpture bordering First and the Boulder Pavilion is a favorite performance stage for musicians.

To get involved, contact anyone at The Arts Center, and be sure to stop in to visit during their fall and winter activities and performances. If you have children or want to take a class in an art medium, call and get registered. Contact The Arts Center by calling 251-2496.

If anyone has an item for this column, please contact Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.