Blending a passion for children and art

Apr 25, 2019

MARION — ArtWeek is not just for grownups. Activities designed with children in mind will have kids making instruments out of recycled materials, learning to step dance, working with seniors to create decorative trays, and chalking up village sidewalks.

Benares Angeley brings her experience as owner of the Children's Art Lab in Mattapoisett to the instrument workshop. At the other end of the spectrum, Barbara Greenspan brings her experience working with seniors to the tray-decorating program.
Both recently talked with Sippican Week about their ArtWeek projects.
Angeley came up with the concept of her works by looking at materials that others often overlook. Angeley helps children turn ordinary toilet paper tubes into kazoos using scissors and wax paper.

During ArtWeek children will create kazoos and other instruments. The workshop will also create festive masks and banners and parade them around the Marion Art Center.

Angeley applied her personal experience as a mother of two children and her 20 years of teaching kids to come up with creative ways to turn the ordinary into extraordinary.

“I think that kids naturally gravitate towards the recycling bins and love to use the everyday objects in creative ways,” said Angeley.

Drawn to children’s inquisitiveness and imagination, Angeley always wanted to work with them and foster their personal growth. “I just always loved watching children create and their kind of innate sense of curiosity about the world.” said Angeley.

Blending art with her love of children, Angeley opened the Children’s Art Lab four years ago, to give kids room to explore their creativity and experiment with art.

“I feel like it really helps kids develop a sense of resilience and questioning and being okay with making mistakes and just trying again,” said Angeley, “Which is why I named the Art Lab a lab.”

Greenspan works with adults and loves to enrich minds with the power of art. She does art projects with assisted living homes, memory care facilities and clients with Alzheimers at the Cape Cod Museum of Art.

For two years, Greenspan made an hour-long trip to lead the Memory Cafe at the Marion Council of Aging, an art program that improves the cognitive abilities of seniors with memory loss.

The Marion Art Center noticed Greenspan’s work, and asked her to facilitate a workshop that would pair the seniors with children.

This will be her first year facilitating the Seniors & Children: Create & Connect workshop. Using craft glue, tissue and paper, seniors and children will work together to beautify a wooden tray, which they will keep.

“I was very impressed with the premise of ArtWeek, I think it’s important for people to do art, to see art, talk about art,” said Greenspan, “I was kind of honored when she called me.”

Greenspan hopes the workshop will strengthen the relationship between the two groups.

“When grandparents and their grandchildren actually get to do something together, whether it’s cooking or gardening or making something that’s fun to do, I think it builds the relationships that don’t happen otherwise,” she said.