Artists are often asked how they got started in their creative life and work. A constant answer involves an activity or positive experience when they were young that sparked an interest in the arts. It quite often involves a grand parent or a teacher. There are many opportunities to introduce the arts to youngsters, even if we are not artists ourselves. I was reminded of this on the weekend while attending the Great Northern Exhibition fall fair in Collingwood, ON with my five year old grand daughter. She had a blast. Of course there are the kiddie rides which she loved. But her favorite part was the demonstration of how wool is made. The sheep were on display, along with a sheep shearing demo, taking the wool and spinning it and then knitting hats, mittens and sweaters. Each child was given a little sample of the fleece, which has become one of her treasures. We also enjoyed the children's art activity tent, a science activity performance by Elephant Thoughts and the dog agility show.
The visit to the fair involved making new friends and hooking up with a kindergarten classmate to share the experience. We met a local children's author, purchased her book and had it signed. We were given a story telling walking stick by a local church who was exhibiting. We went on pony rides. Then we visited the displays of award winning vegetables, giant sunflowers and pumpkins and many children's craft entries.
We had a wonderful day and created some great memories. It has been years since I went to a fall fair. Would I go by myself? Not likely. But experiencing the fair through a child's eyes was truly rewarding.
Our creative juices were flowing when we returned home. With the discarded corn husks from dinner we made corn husk dolls! They are adorable and empowered my grand daughters creative spirit! This is how we build the grass roots of art and creativity who in turn become makers and consumers of art.