Young artists hosting exhibit tonight

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— Third- through eighth-graders taking part in the South Routt Summer Art Institute will show off their work at an art show tonight.

The art institute is in its second year of existence, funded by grants from the Steamboat Springs Art Council, Yampa Valley Legacy Education Initiative and Assets for Routt County. The grants go towards paying the instructors.

"Also, if kids can't afford it, some of that money goes to scholarships," art institute director Tammy Gilleland said.

It costs $20 for one six-week course.

Each year, part of the grant money is held back in hopes that the program becomes self-sufficient, Gilleland said.

"I don't know exactly where we'll be next year, as far as funding goes," she said.

One of the reasons for establishing the institute was to give young people in south Routt something to do in the summer.

"This year, there seems to be more opportunities for kids," Gilleland said.

Twenty-three south Routt youngsters participated in either spinning and weaving, or pencil drawing classes.

In the classes, the striving artists learned the basics of the art forms. The program was developed to be a placed-base educational experience, so the students were instructed to do their projects with a south Routt theme, Gilleland said.

In the spinning and weaving class, taught by south Routt local Marian Block, the children used wool grown in the upper Yampa valley.

Before they got down to spinning, Block showed her class all the steps in preparing wool.

"It was really a lot for six weeks, but they were able to do a little bit on each step," Block said.

The students made their own spinning wheels, using clay and a wooden dowel. They spun clean wool into thread, made their own loom and wove a purse or wall hanging.

The artist even rolled their own clay beads for decoration.

Also, Block brought in an Angora rabbit and two alpacas so her students could get an idea of some alternative fibers that are used.

In the pencil drawing class, accomplished artist Danni Teters showed her class the basic skills for drawing.

They started out by identifying the basic shapes in pictures like circles, squares and cones and drawing them.

"It gives the kids a better end-product and boosts their self-esteem," Teters said.

The students also learn different shadowing techniques, blending and tricks with using an eraser to create texture.

"It's really slick," Gilleland said.

For the last three weeks of the pencil course, the students worked on an end project, which had to be a picture of something in south Routt.

Tonight, all the finished works of art will be shown off at an exhibit at the Yampa Library.

"We try to make it look like a gallery," Gilleland said.

It starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 7 p.m.

"The public is invited to attend and help celebrate the students' accomplishments," Gilleland said.

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail dcrowl@amigo.net

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