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Youth Arts Program will begin on March 25

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By PETER SAWYER

The Campbell Culture Coalition’s Youth Arts Program will start a new project March 25.
“We’ve got a new program gearing up here,” said Manuel Mesa, member of the Campbell Culture Coalition. “Basically, the theme is ‘My Campbell County. They will be painting tiles.”
The tiles will be assembled to form both a mural and the top of a picnic table. The tabletop mural will display either a lake, a combination of a lake and mountains or a train trestle, Mesa said.
“It’s going to be a mural,” Mesa said. “Which has not been decided yet. We’ll make that decision before the program starts.”
The instructors will make the decision, Mesa said.
The instructors are Curtis and Brandy Wilson. They are husband and wife and members of the Campbell County Artist Association. Curtis Wilson is a founder of the Artist Village in Caryville and he also painted the mural of Harvey LaFollette on Tennessee Avenue.
“Curtis and Brandy, they’re real excited about this,” Mesa said. “We got some hot expectations. It should be beautiful.”
A person from Chicago donated the tiles, Mesa said. Each tile is a six-inch square.
Each child will paint a section of the tabletop. The amount of tiles each student paints will depend on how many children enroll, Mesa said.
“In a way, it’s going to be like a jig saw puzzle,” Mesa said.
When the work is complete, the picnic table will be displayed outside the West LaFollette Community Center, Mesa said.
Because the work will be displayed in public, it’s important the children take ownership of it, Mesa said.
“Each child will have their name on the front of the tile somewhere,” Mesa said. “It will be part of their tile work. It becomes a source of pride and confidence and self-esteem. It’s a very important part of this program.”
The class will be held in room 22 at West LaFollette Community Center from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays. There will be eight sessions from March 25 to May 20. The program won’t be held on April 1 because there won’t be school that day, Mesa said.
“The parents are responsible for drop off and pick up,” Mesa said. “We can’t transport anybody.”
The program is open to any youth ages six to 12 and is free, Mesa said. No art experience is required.
“That’s one of the ideas of this,” Mesa said. “Is to expose kids that don’t have known talent.”
During the last Youth Arts Program project, only a few of the children who participated had prior art experience, Mesa said.
“The results were pretty amazing,” Mesa said.
Those interested in registering children can collect forms at local schools, the West LaFollette Community Center, the Campbell County Children’s Center, the LaFollette Public Library, the LaFollette Press and the LaFollette Housing Authority. Mesa also intends to take registration forms to the Jacksboro Public Library.
“It’s on a first come (first served basis),” Mesa said. “We’re looking to have 15 (children).”
Three children have already registered, Mesa said Monday.
Parents with children who have participated in past programs have shown interest.