The quote “A bond is a deep connection that cannot be broken. Even if apart, heart and heart are connected” by Pheng Xiong and mentioned in the Kamen Rider Series embodies the Arts in the Parks program. Co-directors, Holly Jarvis and Kathryn MacKay, give something very special to the community; they give their love of art, sharing and learning to the neighboring youth.
The program runs from June 6 to July 15, taking place at a different park every week. Each day features a different theme and set of activities for the kids. Mondays are storytelling, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are music and dance, Thursdays are theater and puppetry and Fridays are visual arts.
Music from the event could be heard from a distance. There was a small band playing songs like “Bear Necessities,” and there were tables spread out with different crafts for the kids to enjoy.
Paper kazoos, paper spin drums and dance ribbons were some of the crafts that gave the kids the opportunity to join in with the band. Activities like these invited the children to have fun with self-expression and taught them how they could express themselves through music and dance.
“I think self expression is a big theme, but I think working with the kids and seeing the smiles on their faces plays the biggest role. It’s about connecting,” said recent Weber State University graduate and long time volunteer at the Arts in the Parks, Nestor.
The connections created were not just between the attendees and the volunteers. There were also some clear connections made between the kids and the materials in front of them.
“We’re trying to teach the kids to learn to help and listen to each other,” Nestor said. “We are trying to teach them to be creative with what you have. Most of these materials can be found at home. It’s a cool program. For some kids, it’s all the fun they get.”
A music teacher and his volunteers came out to provide the program with a band. They had the kids sit in a circle and play the drums and/or their kazoos along with them. They even invited the kids to dance. It reinforced the idea that connecting with one another and connecting with the materials you’ve created makes for a fun time.
Arts in the Parks started in 2014, when Ogden City schools started cutting the art program’s funding. It was modeled after its sister program, “Science in the Parks,” which began a few years prior. It’s really all about bringing arts back to the community.
Jarvis and MacKay bring on visual art students and education students as their volunteers from Weber State University. The education students can even earn credit hours through volunteering to fulfill their hands-on learning requirement.
The program starts at 12 p.m. and finishes at 1 p.m. every day of the week. Lunch is provided in the beginning and consists of PB&J, chips, fruit and milk. “It’s great!” One mom, who wanted to remain anonymous, said. “The fact that it’s having a place to take the kids every day and lunch is provided. Even the fact that it moves around and sometimes becomes closer you.” When your summer needs just a touch of love, check out the Arts in the Parks program and express the inner artist.