Afterschool art class offered |

Afterschool art class offered

Jill Darby

Suemi Atherton is introducing children to the magic of creative expression.

Atherton teaches After School Art Studio, one of many classes offered at Kahle Community Center.

Intended for first- through fifth-graders, After School Art Studio gives youngsters a chance to relax, daydream and draw in a noncompetitive environment.

Atherton begins her class with a brief meditation session.

“To start off a lesson I do guided meditation with the kids,” said Atherton, who also plays classical musical in an effort to relax her students. “It helps them focus and to quiet the mental chatter in their minds.”

Five students, ranging in age from 6 to 9, took Wednesday’s After School Art Studio course and learned to draw a praying mantis.

Using the five elements of shape, which Atherton refers to as “the alphabet of drawing,” students drew their critters following Atherton’s example, then added a unique background environment. Some drew their praying mantis on a leaf, others on a rock. Some pictures included flies, some flowers.

“It’s fun but it’s hard,” said 7-year-old Megan Mice. “But it helps to follow the basic elements because (Atherton) shows us step by step. See, everything is made up of one of those elements.”

The five basic elements of shape include: the dot family, circle family, straight line family, curved line family and angle line family.

“There are many different ways to draw and you’ll all have your own way, just like you all have your own handwriting,” Atherton told her class. “I’m going to show you one way, using the five basic elements of shape.”

Atherton emphasized the importance of developing one’s own style. She said she believes in a combination of structured guidance and freedom to develop one’s own creativity.

“Sometimes lessons are based on literature and sometimes they’re based on nature,” she said.

Nine-year-old Cameron Fields said he enjoyed his first class Wednesday with Atherton.

“It’s fun,” he said examining his praying mantis. “This class is pretty good. I like to draw ninjas and army guys, but this is fun. The (meditation) part was cool. I’ve never done that before.”

Zephyr Cove Elementary School student Nicole Romaneschi said she plans to continue coming to Atherton’s class.

“I like to draw and she’s a good teacher,” Romaneschi said. “I want to keep coming back to this class because I’ve liked drawing since I was a little girl.”

After School Art Studio takes place Wednesdays from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. through Oct. 24. Classes will resume Nov. 7 and continue through Nov. 28. Cost is $28 per session plus a one-time supply fee of $20.

For more information on After School Art Studio, or other classes offered for adults and children at Kahle Community Center, call (775) 586-7271.

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