Little Falls art teachers come together for art camp

Annabelle Mainc, daughter of Kristen Mrozek, is pictured holding her Roy Lichtenstein-inspired dot painting at Free Art 2nd Saturday held June 14 at Great River Arts.

Annabelle Mainc, daughter of Kristen Mrozek, is pictured holding her Roy Lichtenstein-inspired dot painting at Free Art 2nd Saturday held June 14 at Great River Arts.

Great River Arts will present a summer art program, “Mastering the Messy: Painting and Clay Camp.” The camp is a four-day session for children in grades 3-8 held at Great River Arts Aug. 11-14, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Students will experiment with a variety of materials and techniques that encourage getting their hands dirty.

Nancy Ratzloff, a retired Little Falls art teacher and Michelle Young, a current Little Falls high school art teacher, are coming together to instruct the camp. Ratzloff will be focusing on the painting portion of the camp, while Young focuses on the clay portion. Both are looking forward to the opportunity to teach the kids a skill they are passionate about. This teaching team believes in the importance of keeping the arts alive in the education of youths.

As a retired arts educator with more than 30 years of experience teaching students grades K-12, Ratzloff still finds enjoyment in teaching art.

“I enjoy observing the creative process and helping students find ways to be inspired to do their art. I love watching my students grow with joy and pride as they express themselves and make connections with their world by exploring all the adventures and possibilities art has to offer them,” she said.

Named Minnesota Arts Educator of the Year in 2000 by fellow Minnesota Art colleagues, Ratzloff said her favorite medium to work with is painting and collage, although she also loves clay and origami. Ratzloff spends her retirement enjoying time with her family while continuing to do her art.

Young is especially excited to have the opportunity to introduce younger kids to techniques in ceramics,

“I teach high school so I don’t get to see as many of the first moments when working with clay,” she said. “Younger kids seem especially open to create, so I’m excited to help them make some really fun and interesting pieces.”

In addition to having the opportunity to teach kids something new, Young enjoys seeing them grow artistically. “I enjoy watching my students use a technique I’ve just taught and practice it, then change it, and find their own way to achieve their personal artistic goals,” she said.

Having created many pieces using the pottery wheel, Young still finds inspiration for new and interesting work.

“I am typically inspired by other artists who are better than I am. Sometimes I’ll discover a technique on the wheel that is new, or a very challenging new shape, and feel motivated to master those techniques on my own,” she said.

To register for Mastering the Messy: Painting and Clay Camp, call Great River Arts at (320) 632-0960. For more information regarding summer art classes, and upcoming events, visit www.greatarts.org.

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