Turchin Center program provides learning opportunity for student art educators

Ethan Murphy, Reporter

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts puts paint brushes and paper in the hands of children. On the first Friday of each month at 3:00 p.m., the center invites children to explore their creativity through its workshop Blazing Easels.

Free to attend, the workshop allows children to develop their artistic skills and learn more about creative media. For Lily Crum, a workshop instructor and junior art education major, this environment serves a larger purpose.

“Being able to introduce them to the arts is so vital to their lives and bringing about larger ideas,” Crum said. “It isn’t just art, it’s a message. They’re able to start to look at the world through a different lens and get a more creative sense of themselves as people.”

From colored pencils and paint found everywhere to an octopus mural covering one of the walls, imagination fills the room.

“I feel like because it isn’t the traditional in-school art class, (children) can get a little more individual attention here and can do different kinds of projects they just couldn’t do in schools,” Crum said.

It isn’t just art, it’s a message. They’re able to start to look at the world through a different lens and get a more creative sense of themselves as people.”

— Lily Crum

Greg Snodgrass, a parent of one of the children at the workshop, stopped in to see what kind of art the kids created in the workshop.

“We signed her up for it because she really likes art, and being a creatively-oriented family, we’ve always tried to encourage that. We were looking for alternatives to the traditional route and thought she would like this better,” Snodgrass said.

He also reflected on how art education can change the world people live in.

“Programs like this spur on their interest and make the community a better place to live in because that creativity and passion stays with them as they get older,” Snodgrass said.

Blazing Easels also allows aspiring educators a chance to learn how to teach through practice. BreeAnna Duell, a senior art education major, works together with Crum to teach the children and provide a comfortable environment.

“I’ve wanted to teach since I was young, and in high school, I realized I wanted to teach art,” Duell said. “It’s a really good way to give back to the community, and I’ve always wanted to help others as best as I can. Teaching the kids like this is a wonderful way to guide the kids as they grow and develop.” 

Duell said she noticed how the environment kids grow up in can shape who they become and their view on art later in life.

“I think an appreciation for art depends a lot on where you grow up. It’s really shaped by those around you, and as you grow up, you start to realize that. I’m happy to be a part of that in my own way,” Duell said.