POMEROY — ArtBreak, a summer program where children draw, paint, sew, make collages and construct projects, concluded last week at the Meigs County Public Library in Pomeroy.
However, plans are now moving forward to offer the program again next summer. It is a free program for children under 8 which is funded with a grant called Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health), an initiative of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Ohio University, and Integrating Professionals for Appalachian Children (IPAC), a university-community rural health network.
Project LAUNCH was founded in 2001 and consists of a network of 19 community agencies in Athens, Hocking, Meigs and Vinton counties, and involves several Ohio University departments and clinics.
The Pomeroy Library program began on June 5 and ran through the month, two days a week. It was taught by Katherine Ziff, Ph.D. an artist and author. Each child created a variety of projects.
Emphasis of the sessions was on involving children in various art mediums while promoting social and emotional development through interaction. Getting the children to react about their project work was encouraged. As an example of interaction when six-year-old Michael Jackson of the Pomeroy area was putting the finishing touches on the blob of clay he had formed into the shape of a bowl he was asked what he was making. He said “It’s a pinch pot. I made it for my mom.” He then moved onto his next project — a train, complete with its own tunnel, made out of cardboard.
Ziff in preparation for future Summer ArtBreak sessions is in the process of putting together a workbook that will explain the logistical, technical and theoretical aspects of organizing an ArtBreak workshop.
ArtBreak is one of several free summer programs being offered at Meigs County Libraries which are geared to assist in the development of children.
“Our Summer ArtBreak is a chance for children to come and create their own projects using all the materials we provide, like drawing, painting, sewing, collages, construction projects,” said Ziff, a licensed professional counselor and a school counselor at The Plains Elementary in Athens County. She developed the summer activity from her school-based therapy program.
“In the schools ArtBreak is a group-based creative counseling program designed to help students build social skills, develop problem-solving abilities, and relax and express feelings. While the summer program is less intense, the children still accomplish many of these same things,” explained Ziff.