Volunteers spread creative spirit with budding artists

Special to The Sun City PacketJanuary 17, 2013 

  • The Society of Bluffton Artists student sessions are free and last 75 minutes. The classes are held at 48 Boundary St., Bluffton. For more information or to volunteer, contact Mary Ann Putzier, 843-705-5443; maputz1@centurytel.net.

Wanted: Volunteers who love working with kids in a classroom and have an artistic bent.

In her light- and art-filled studio on Strobhar Street in Sun City Hilton Head, Mary Ann Putzier said that two volunteer teachers are needed for the upcoming Kids After School Arts Program, set to get underway Jan. 15 at the Society of Bluffton Artists on Boundary Street in Bluffton.

Putzier has been the coordinator and director of the program, open to fourth- and fifth-grade students in Bluffton area schools, since 2002.

"The volunteers should be experienced working with children and maybe even in a classroom," Putzier said. "The most important thing is a teacher who loves working with kids. The second is that the teacher be interested in art."

The five art sessions are free and last 75 minutes. SoBa also covers the cost of materials used, which can range from paper plates - used in the past to make flying saucers - to paint, clay and anything that invites creativity.

Five teachers, most from Sun City, are helped in the classroom by five volunteers. The program is coordinated by Putzier with art teachers in the Bluffton schools; 60 children are selected by the teachers from six schools and from the Lowcountry Boys & Girls Clubs. The classes are held in two sections over a 10-week period.

The program is designed to offer supplemental art classes to children. Putzier said SoBa offers the classes for free as a way of saying thank you to the community for supporting arts organizations and the arts in general.

Many of the students who participate are gifted and talented in art, Putzier said, but the program is open to any interested fourth or fifth grader in Bluffton schools.

"The kids really welcome the opportunity to take more art classes. They are eager, eager kids. And they take home a product form each class."

Take-homes include paintings, drawings, sculptural items and of course, those flying saucers. Putzier, who now works largely in watercolor and porcelain, holds a master's degree in art education and has taught art to children from kindergarten to 12th grade. Raised in Minnesota, Putzier spends summers in Wisconsin where she also teaches art. She also is on the staff of the All About Art Club in Sun City.

"The kids learn a lot of good art principles such as balance, patience and decision making," Putzier said about the SoBa classes. Creativity and being non-traditional are encouraged in the class, she said.

Each session has a theme tied to a letter. The upcoming session beginning in January will center on the letter G, so the students will be making gargoyles, globes, graffiti, grid and globs.

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