Authored by Charity Williams, Youth Services Afterschool Program Coordinator
A little over two years ago I was introduced to Cyprus Art Night. My three kids and I attended, not knowing what to expect. Art night, we were told was from 4-8pm. All I could think was, “We will go, make an appearance and leave. That way I could say we were there like I promised.” We walked in and we were immediately welcomed by Mrs. McKay, the art teacher at Cyprus High. She directed us to Mr. Van’s Pottery Room where there was a huddle of parents, teens and young kids around a table. People of all ages were eating pizza and having great conversations—Students about projects, families about their days, and friends about which room they were going to after eating. We ended up staying for the whole 4 hours! AND everything was free—the food, art supplies and, yes, even the pottery!
Fast forward to Christmas of 2014: I was volunteering with Salt Lake County Youth Services and was asked if I would plan a craft to help entertain the younger kids who would be attending Cyprus Art Night with their families. I have a hard time saying no (especially because the previous year’s event was so fun), so I spoke with Mrs. McKay and Sally, Cyprus’ Afterschool Coordinator at the time. I decided that Cinnamon Dough Ornaments would be an easy project the little ones would enjoy. Little did I know so would all the parents and teens!! While I was helping roll out dough, there was Santa in a chair being painted by adults and students, students working on projects for class, in the pottery room was my 3 kids and tons of others of all ages on pottery wheels letting their creations come out of their hands. People were around tables sculpting clay with tools, little kids rolling out clay snake—everyone was covered in clay and having fun! I can’t tell you how many recipes I wrote down for parents that night and that was it—I was hooked! Every month we provided a themed craft for the little kids.
This brings us to this school year and this blog. I now work for Salt Lake County Youth Services and when asked to blog about something Art Night was the obvious choice. Since becoming involved in the event, I’ve learned a few things.
Cyprus Art Night started over 20 years ago, when Mr. Van provided a pottery and pizza night for his Advanced Pottery Class. He did this for over 15 years and paid for everything out of his own pocket. The Art Department always wanted to expand this idea but wasn’t able to until Youth Services’ Afterschool Program and a grant could bring it to the community. Five years ago, Youth Services joined with Cyprus to open Art Night to the entire Magna community (rather than just Cyprus students) and it keeps growing! Not only is there pottery and art, but Spring Lavallee from Salt Lake County Library’s Magna Branch and I do the kids craft and Mr. Bodel, the Graphics Design Teacher, has his lab open as well. Where will you find my kids? They actually volunteer—the two oldest in the pottery room working with younger kids and my youngest with spring and I at the craft table.
According to Ofa Nau, Cyprus’ current Afterschool Program Coordinator, Art Night it is the most popular of all the events sponsored by Youth Services After School Program. Art Night is currently taking place once a quarter, but because of its popularity, Ofa is hoping to hold Art Night monthly once again. Our next Cyprus Family Art Night is May 5th from 4-8pm in the Art Building. We would love for your family to join our Cyprus family for pizza, art & family fun!
Cyprus is at 8623 W. 3000 S. in Magna. Contact Ofa Nau at 385-315-1431 for more information about art night and Cyprus’ Afterschool Program. Or call Salt Lake County Youth Services at 385-468-4500.