Mark Strand is one of those really cool, interesting, talented historians who can keep you engaged in his stories for hours. He was the juror responsible for winning work on display for a week yet at the Jamestown Fine Art Association's 56th annual art show.

While at The Arts Center, check out the classes for kids and adults. The Arts Center is located downtown, across from the Arts Park on Second Street Southwest. Call 701-251-2496 before stopping by. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, numbers are limited inside at any one time, and prior approval is helpful.

The arts are important for any age person at any time, but especially important during times of stress. Kids in elementary schools are being spaced out in classrooms, made to stay at least 6 feet apart and advised to wear masks when congregating. Part of being a kid is the dumb and rude activities of the playground bullies: pushing, yelling, chasing, punching and worse, spitting. Kids on the receiving end have few defenses.

A secluded spot for more internal expression is needed for those youngsters who don’t want to engage in playground horseplay. Having a place for them to draw or color during recess is valuable, and right now it’s also important for safety and good health. There’s nothing better than to have something to show for your break time than a drawing. It sure beats the bruises frequented during school breaks.

Some people may look at doing art as “less-than” so-and-so, but creativity (mental work) is as important for physical health and growth as socializing in group activities. It’s called being a nerd in 2020. Eons ago, it was considered being a snob or worse: a “loner.” But if that kid needs some ego elevation/confidence, enroll him or her in after-school classes at The Arts Center. There, they can learn about materials, have a chance to fail and fix the problems under supervision, and gain the most important aspect of socializing: self-confidence. The numbers cannot be counted on how important skills are for kids.

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They will be exposed to older kids who have been through the playground traumas, who have tried to find that outlet for themselves, and who finally understand that creative outlets can be visual and important. They will also find it’s a really fun (read that socially acceptable and totally cool) way to socialize and get acquainted with school-friends who like what they do. And who knows; maybe in a year they can enter the art show in the youth division and get a prize or ribbon.

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