By Ben Trentelman, Afterschool Program Coordinator
Over the summer, teens participating in the Kearns Summer Blast Program had an amazing opportunity to expand their typical summer experience and explore new creative outlets with Craft Lake City.
Craft Lake City is a non-profit organization on a mission to educate, promote and inspire local artisans while elevating the creative culture of the Utah arts community through science, technology and art.
Craft Lake City holds an annual “DIY” festival in downtown Salt Lake City featuring local artists, music, and food, as well as holding several workshops throughout the community that gives participants opportunities to try anything from book binding to cupcake decorating with the guidance of local artists.
Every week teens from our program were able to meet with a different artist from Craft Lake City to try their hand at learning to create something new. Each week offered experiences ranging from making their own stencils for decorating bags, button making, sewing flags that represent their interests and culture, and even making terrariums and learning about water wise plants. Throughout the summer every participant in the program had an opportunity to work with a Craft Lake City artist. As our teens engaged in their workshops we quickly saw their inhibitions melt away as they eagerly learned a new craft, and because it was a new idea, every teen started on the same skill level and finished up at the end of the day with something tangible that they could take home. Some teens were so excited by their newly learned skills that they couldn’t wait to get home to try new ideas and teach their siblings.
Craft Lake City normally offers their workshops to adults, but pairing their fun and out of the ordinary classes with our summer program seemed like a natural fit and Craft Lake City was eager to help make it happen. Craft Lake City’s workshops enable teens to see how easy it is to try something new that may have seemed daunting, and now, many of our teens may have the skills to see a piece of art that they think is interesting and then figure out how to recreate it themselves. Currently there has been a large resurgence of “DIY” culture that embraces reusing materials, creating your own material goods, and exploring creativity. At this point in the development of our teens, embracing a do-it-yourself philosophy can help them with their problem solving skills, overcoming objectives, exploring entrepreneurship, as well as learning the importance of sticking to something in order to master it.
We are looking forward to expanding our workshops with Craft Lake City into all of our after school programs over the course of the next year.
You can find more information about Craft Lake City at www.craftlakecity.com.