Munchkin & Me preschool art class is all about discovery

Published 8:31 am Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Never too young for art

By KATE SNYDER

Community Arts Center

On Monday mornings, the Community Arts Center is not a quiet place. If you walk in the door a little after 10 o’clock, you’re likely to hear giggles, stomping feet, and the occasional squeal of joy. It’s the sound of a Munchkin & Me preschool art class in full swing.

Munchkin & Me is a free visual arts class designed for children ages eighteen months to four years, with an adult caregiver; children are regularly accompanied by moms, dads, grandparents, and baby-sitters. The class meets Mondays at 10am and lasts approximately 45 minutes.  No preregistration is required, making it a flexible creative opportunity for families with young children. The program is taught by Carlotta Kustes. A long-time art teacher in the public schools, Carlotta is currently raising her two young sons. She describes the opportunity to teach the Munchkin & Me class as “a perfect way to integrate the past and present parts of my life.”

When asked to explain her approach to the Munchkin & Me program, Carlotta says, “Making art with preschool children is all about discovery and play! It’s one giant experiment. I try to give Munchkins an experience that is different than what they might be allowed at home. The exciting part of teaching this age group is that you can have five two-year-olds in the room and they are all in different learning stages, no two the same. I love to see what they create!”

For Danville mom Stacey Dexter, the Munchkin & Me class is the perfect place for her son Abell to learn and have fun. “I love seeing the excitement he has working with new materials,” says Stacey. “Every Monday morning, he says ‘I wonder what we’re going to make in class today.’ I really enjoy watching his growing mind and little hands work. And I appreciate the way the children are encouraged to let their imaginations run wild!”

Marti Wittig echoes those sentiments. Monday mornings, Marti has a standing date with her granddaughter, Acacia, at the Munchkin & Me class. “Acacia is exuberantly creative – the messier the better!” says Marti. “Each week, Miss Carlotta prepares a unique project for the class to do, using a variety of different media. She often pairs the project with an appropriate seasonal children’s story. Upon completing her work of art, Acacia takes it to her daddy’s office for display!”

In recent years, the Arts Center has worked to make the Munchkin & Me program accessible to all families in the community. As of January of this year, the program is now free, thanks to the generous support of One Way gynecology in Danville. Dr. Kimberly Frazier says “One Way gynecology is happy to support the Munchkin & Me class because it’s a way to support family togetherness. It’s an opportunity for learning, creativity, and growth and it’s a mechanism by which to unplug from our busy lives and concentrate on the gifts God has given us.”

If You Go
Munchkin & Me Preschool Art Class
Mondays at 10am
A FREE visual arts class for children ages 18 month – 4 years, with an adult caregiver. Experiment with new techniques and new mediums each week! No preregistration required.

On Exhibit
ReInterpret: Contemporary Landscapes by Billy Hertz
March 1 to April 29
Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm | Suggested donation $5

Coming Up

Starry Night Studio: NYC Skyline
Tuesday, May 9 | 7pm to 9pm | $28
Spend a relaxing evening painting the iconic New York City skyline. Never painted before? No problem!  A professional artist will guide you, step by step, from blank canvas to finished masterpiece. Register online at www.communityartscenter.net

Summer Art Camps Now Enrolling

Bookworms Art Camp – June 5 to 9
Rainforest Adventure Camp – June 12 to 16
Fabulous Food Art – July 17 to 26
Take Flight – July 24 to 28
Camps for rising 2nd through 6th graders
9am to 12pm OR 1pm to 4pm
$100 per camper ($125 after May 14)
Register online at www.communityartscenter.net

Mini Camp – July 28 to August 4
Rising kindergarten and 1st graders
9am to 12pm
$100 per camper ($125 after May 14)
Register online at www.communityartscenter.net

Middle School Nerd Camp – July 28 to August 4
Rising 7th through 9th graders
1pm to 4pm
$125 per camper ($150 after May 14)
Register online at www.communityartscenter.net

Abell and Emmett Dexter of Danville, with parents Stephen and Stacey, create bumblebee puppets at a recent Munchkin & Me preschool art class at the Community Arts Center.