This month's “Saturday for Kids” event sponsored by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City featured Oklahoma artist-in-residence Pat Webb.
In a class she titled “Strength of Spirit,” Webb taught children ages 4 to 12 how to make picture collages from watercolor paint and copies of photographs from the newly sponsored exhibition, “National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West.”
Children cut out images from the copies of photographs and pasted them onto paper which they painted. With each image the children associated a word.
“I chose energetic because buffalo have a lot of energy. Smart because when a predator comes buffalo need to know how to escape. And resourceful because when food is scarce buffalo need to find different ways to survive,” Alaina Brady, 8, said of her collage, which displayed cut out pictures of buffalo amid a watercolored sunset.
Webb said while they may not know it, the children choose words that describe not only who they see in the pictures but also who they would like to be.
“When the children see images from the American West and imagine what kind of qualities people had to have to survive they get excited. They think ‘I have those qualities' or ‘I'd like to have those qualities,” Webb said.
“It's character development. And after all that's art — to see beauty and make a connection,” she said.
Milton McCourtie said the class helps to encourage his daughter Isabella's creativity.
“I was telling my kids the other day that when I was young my teacher would tell me to draw a picture and it was very systematic. Now creativity is encouraged. Everything Bella makes is self-motivated and nontraditional,” McCourtie said.
“It's just great for them. And the power of creativity can't be stressed enough. Everything from cars to the chairs they're sitting on come from the thought process they're building right now.”
“I used the word adventurous because the people who came here had to be adventurous. And because I like going to different places, too,” Isabella McCourtie said.
Sue McCoy, an assistant educator at the museum, said “Saturdays for Kids” is a privately funded program that features different workshops on the first Saturday of each month and is free for children ages 4 to 12 and their parents.
“It's a gift to the community,” McCoy said.
McCoy, who has volunteered and worked for the museum for 10 years, said her favorite part of each class is to watch the children's facial expressions as they learn something new.
“For some of them it's the first time they've created anything,” she said.
If you go
The next “Saturday for Kids” event is at 10 a.m. Dec. 1 and will teach children how to make old-fashioned Christmas ornaments. Participation is free but registration is required. For more information or to make reservations, call Sue McCoy at 478-2250, ext. 264.