Whether it's setting up tables for an impromptu art fair in the
neighborhood or exhibiting at a junior artist festival, creating
art to sell can be a great summer project for families. From
creating masterpieces to learning how to manage expenses, art shows
are teaching experiences for children as young as 3.
The cost to get started as a pint-size artist can be as minimal
as buying paint and collecting rocks to decorate, says Amy Amdur,
president of Amdur Productions, which puts on a Youth Art Fest each
August. Amdur, whose daughter Hannah has been exhibiting art since
she was 3, recommends parents follow their child's lead when it
comes to art projects.
"We started with easy projects. She wanted to paint sticks,"
Amdur says. "She ended up creating sculptures out of sticks."
Talk to your child to find out what she may enjoy creating.
Anything goes-from friendship bracelets to Sculpey sculptures to
photography. Next, work with your child to figure out what
materials are needed.
As your child is creating her inventory, other business learning
experiences come into play. Talk about how she is going to display
her artwork and how to price the object, taking into account the
cost of materials and the exhibition fee, Amdur says. "You need to
think about with kids, are you going to take checks or only cash?
Are you going to have a box for your money? That's a really nice
topic-how to handle your money." Also talk about what will be done
with this potential income-will they keep the cash, put it in a
savings account or donate it to charity?
As children get older, they often become more savvy, sometimes
creating business cards or order sheets to take commissions. "The
ones who are really on top of their game keep a guest book in their
booth and then before Hanukkah or Christmas, they do a mailing to
see if anyone wants to buy their products," Amdur says.
For Hannah, exhibiting at art shows allows her to spend her
summer creatively, without all those 'mom I'm bored' moments. "It's
not like school where I have to do something. I can do whatever I
want," Hannah says. "At the shows, seeing what I've made, that I
have a booth full of my artwork, it's really fun. And when you see
someone who wants your art, they want to pay for it with money
they've earned, that's exciting."
If your child is interested in exhibiting at a fest, the Port
Clinton Art Festival has a Youth Art Division. Spots go quickly, so
Amdur recommends sending in an application at the beginning of the
summer. The fest charges $60 for youth art exhibitors, who will
exhibit Aug. 29-30. For more information or to apply for a booth,
call (847) 926-4300 or visit www.amdurproductions.com.
Even if your child isn't ready to exhibit in a show, Amdur
recommends families take advantage of the many free art shows in
the Chicago area to introduce children to art. The fests often have
free art areas where children can explore various media. Follow up
the visit with a trip to the Art Institute or another local art
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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