Art studio fires up kids' creativity

26 Apr 2012 - Terri Mueller, Greater Kansas City LISC

Located on 6th Street in Strawberry Hill in Downtown Kansas City, Kansas, Epic Arts Studio has become a hub of activity providing art and ceramics classes for all ages and abilities. Epic, formerly a long-empty storefront, is now a community arts space that is partially funded by Greater Kansas City LISC. It is a prime example of what binds together a community – residents who come together to enrich themselves and improve their neighborhood.

The studio was featured in KCPT’s primetime public and cultural affairs program, THE LOCAL SHOW. Watch the video above.

Under the auspices of the community organizer Steve Curtis from Community Housing of Wyandotte County (CHWC), the clay studio has shown how urban blight can be transformed into a creative place for a diverse group of people to gather, learn the creative art of pottery, and have fun. Epic brings in local artists for demonstrations and to teach ceramics technique. The studio offers classes for adults, students and notably, a teen night where disabled children from the School for the Blind and the Kansas City, KS School District can come and thrive in a creative environment where their talents are celebrated. People come together at the studio to take part in and experience art, which fosters an interactive and healthy community.

Greater Kansas City LISC has been working with Curtis for since 2010, when he joined CWHC and implemented summer art classes that led to fall arts programs for kids. As a former art teacher, Curtis knows the educational value of these classes. "Creating, participating in, and talking about art creates an educational attitude shift," notes Curtis. Art allows them to break the rules, encourage creativity and see change. These programs allow young people to "understand that they can have a part in changing and improving current life conditions," added Curtis. Curtis and CHWC, with support fromLISC, have added photography, drawing, painting, creative writing, and mural painting in alleyways to enliven moribund streets. "Neighborhoods are like puzzles," says Curtis, "They need all different elements and they’re not all the same."

> Read about Kansas City LISC's Arts & Culture Projects

> Steve Curtis Blog

Article Type: News