The workshop, hosted by artist and writer Monica Forrestall, attracted almost 20 budding artists July 8 and was such a hit three more similar events are being planned.
“We lucked out and had perfect weather for our first Free Kids Summer Art Workshop -- sunny with a few picturesque, very paintable clouds,” said Forrestall.
Fort Anne is Canada’s oldest administered historic site and celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. While it’s a favourite artists’ Mecca, especially during the annual Paint the Town in August, Forrestall put the focus on the park for the first workshop and encouraged her students to create paintings of their favourite area of the park.
“The workshop participants, ranging in ages from 6 to 17, were all very focused and extremely enthusiastic over the opportunity to try their hands at an acrylic painting of their favourite area of Fort Anne Historic Site,” she said. “Most had never worked with acrylic paints."
Forrestall set up base camp out of the sun under an enormous tent by the Officers’ Quarters. But the artists didn’t stay there long. After a talk on art they headed out to paint.
“I was very impressed by how seriously the young painters took to the workshop,” she said. “They listened attentively, collected their materials, then created their drawings, after choosing their scene to depict. Then after 45 minutes came back for another quick talk on painting, collected their palettes with their choices of colors of paints, bottles of water and brushes, and off they went to create some more.”
Fort Anne experience manager Lillian Stewart was welcoming and enthusiastic about the project.
“She offered us the huge, ‘big tent’ to work under, and it proved to be a nice spot of shade as the afternoon warmed up,” Forrestall said. “We are both excited to organize a public display of these works of art during Paint The Town weekend, here in Annapolis.”
Forrestall said she was thrilled that painter and poet Geoff Butler was able to come by and meet and talk with the youth while they worked.
“He brought a copy of his book of drawings related to his artwork based on the Fort Anne Historic site of a few years ago as well,” she said.
And the kids had another surprise.
“Painter, Connie Parker-Lowe, an acrylic painter of enormous skill known for her fabulous bird paintings, was also able to join the group to engage with the workshop participants.”
Forrestall said a lot of people helped to make the free workshops a reality, especially a local funding foundation called Awesome Annapolis, headed up by Heather Garner, that awarded the project $1,000 to pay for all the materials for the classes.
The Town of Annapolis Royal came through with some grant money for materials and posters for two of the workshops.
“That money allowed me to purchase quality brushes and paint for the kids to use,” she said. ArtsPlace helped spread the word, and agreed to host three of the workshops.
“It takes a town of a lot of art-loving people to pull this off,” she said.
Two of the future free summer art workshops for youth will be:
-- Mixed Media Drawing for Tweens & Teens on Saturday, July 29 from 1 to 5 p.m. at ArtsPlace, giving youth an opportunity to explore pastel, charcoal, and marker mediums with instruction on material use and techniques.
-- Create Art for the EX on Saturday, Aug. 5 from 1 to 5 p.m. at ArtsPlace for ages 6 to 17, giving youth of Annapolis Royal and region, an opportunity to create a piece of artwork (and frame it) to submit to the Annapolis County Exhibition Art Show which runs Aug. 14 to 19 in Lawrencetown.
All workshops need to be pre-registered for by emailing Monica Forrestall at firstname.lastname@example.org