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Creative Summer Fun for Kids

by Eva Potter

When the last bell of the school year rings, your kids can look forward to an entertaining and educational summer filled with fun art classes and adventures offered this July and August through the Cattaraugus County Arts Council. The exciting lineup in Ellicottville and Allegany includes two weeklong summer camps, as well as classes that teach budding artists to build clay monsters, make clay masks, create painted masterpieces and whisk them away on an imaginary European adventure. There’s even a field trip to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.

Local art teacher Lillian Lechner, whose two young sons have enjoyed taking past CCAC classes, said she will definitely enroll her kids again. “I feel our community is very lucky to have CCAC just in our backyard. They offer so many different classes for all ages,” she said.

Courtney Blackmon, programs and grants manager at CCAC, will be teaching Like a Master, a five-day art history camp in Allegany from July 30 to Aug. 3. Students in grades 3–6 will study the works of Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Frida Kalo and Alberto Giacometti, and make their own masterpieces. The camp culminates in a guided tour of the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo where students will see original works by these famous artists. This field trip is included in the class fee of $150. The group, children and chaperones will be bused to Buffalo and will need to pack a bag lunch.

From July 23–27, send your child on a European painting adventure right here in Cattaraugus County in CCAC’s Tour de France class taught by high school art teacher Heather Putney, who will act as tour guide while exploring this picturesque country through the works of five noted artists. Each day, students will be immersed in a new painting technique by Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh, and will create daily souvenir masterpieces to take home. This class runs each day from 10 a.m. to noon for ages 6–11 for a fee of $100.

Middle school art teacher Nicole Missel will lead students in a magical painting class as students learn about the life and unique art of Henry Matisse from Aug. 6–7. From 10–11:30 a.m., students in kindergarten and first grade will create wild and colorful paintings in true Matisse style.

Scheduled for the end of July, Ellicottville high school students can look forward to a week of  clay classes at the Ellicottville Memorial Library, as well as a week of ceramics classes for grades 2–5 in Allegany, all taught by clay artist Anne Mormile. For the younger set, Cathy Lacy, retired art teacher, will teach a week of different a la carte classes in Ellicottville for students in grades 2–5 (date to be determined soon).

Individual, a la carte classes will also be offered throughout the summer for children ranging from pre-K to fifth grade, including a kindergarten and first grade class to make clay fish, and grade 2–5 classes to make clay monsters and clay masks. Also, Julie Hall, director of field services at St. Bonaventure University, will teach a series of pre-K and kindergarten classes at the arts council in Allegany. Details will be posted on the CCAC website as they become available.

Blackmon said studies have confirmed the value of art education. “CCAC is dedicated to providing fun and educational classes for students when they are not in school. Research shows that creativity and the arts enhance a child’s mind and experience,” she confirmed.

If your kids are close in age and ability level, and want to take a class together but don’t quite fit the grade guidelines, call Courtney Blackmon at (716) 372-7455 or email her at


*Most individual classes cost $30, but when your child signs up for three or more classes, the tuition drops to $25 per class. There is also a 10 percent discount for each additional family member. All supplies are included. For detailed class descriptions or to register and pay, go to


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