HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Community Art Center might not be open for after-school classes this year, but the members still found a way to bring extracurricular arts to kids at home.
This year, the center is bringing the arts to kids using livestreamed virtual classes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning on Hattiesburg Parks & Recreation Facebook page.
Arts teacher and center organizer Abigail Lenz-Allen says she misses teaching in person.
“You know, I’ve been teaching here in Hattiesburg, art and dance and music, for going on eight years now, and I love hugging and playing and dancing with kids," Lenz-Allen said. “I really, it’s one of my favorite things to do and so it’s very difficult not to have their physical energy and their presence because that brings so much to my energy as a teacher.”
Emily Gallaspy, Hattiesburg Cultural Affairs manager, explains the reason for the virtual classes.
“We created it as supplemental material for students who are learning at home right now, for parents who are having difficulty having creative components to their at-home education,” Gallaspy said.
The classes feature guests who share good news, events around town and mental health talks and tips. Then Lenz-Allen and the guest offer a step-by-step guide to a craft or game kids can complete with things around the house.
“We can’t just stop bringing art and music and dance and theatre to kids just because we can’t physically be with them," Lenz-Allen said. "They still need to be surrounded by that. Kids have to be creative, that’s a part of learning.”
And the virtual classes are going so well, the center applied for and received a Rapid Response Mini-grant from Mississippi Arts Commission for public art workshops.
The grant will fund a 16-week public art workshop video series. Each Thursday the center will post a video featuring either an art demonstration, a tour of a Hattiesburg Public Art piece, or an interview with a local artist.