Thanks to a $1,000 Community Arts Grant from the Hernando County Arts Council, Stir Up the Gift, a 501c-3 non-profit performing arts organization, is stirring up creativity, artistic talent, and endless inspiration for young Hernando arts students. “The Hernando County Fine Arts Council is proud to sponsor the new ‘Specially Art!’ program at Stir Up the Gift. The program provides free, bi-monthly arts and crafts classes for school-age children, including those with disabilities, and is funded by the council’s Community Arts Grant,” said.
Jessica Knutila, Hernando County Arts Council.
These diverse and dynamic art instruction classes offer lessons in everything from the creation of make-and-take cards and scrapbooking projects to upcoming fine arts/decorative painting activities. These are all guided by arts teacher and professional educator Andrea Freeman of Do Me a Favah. “The program is well underway and the kids loved making their scrapbooks and art journals,” said Knutila.
Stir Up the Gift has received this grant in the past for talent development for the youth of Hernando County. “These performances reached over 6,000 people!” said Knutila.
Melinda Crandle, talent director of Stir Up The Gift Talent, is proud to offer arts opportunities to local young people. “Stir Up The Gift Talent is thrilled that we are now hosting arts & crafts classes for all youth, including those with disabilities, in addition to the other classes that we offer (dance, acting, singing, modeling),” she said. “We’ve received grants in previous years from the Hernando County Arts Council and thankful that there is an organization of this kind who continues to assist us in the development of talent, and now art! Our arts & crafts program ‘Specially Art’ is free of charge and we can offer this mainly because of funding received, in part, through a grant from the Hernando County Arts Council.”
This program consists of six free two-hour classes that are aimed at kids five through teens. This is all-inclusive and increasingly popular, drawing future artists from across Hernando County. “There are not many opportunities for students with disabilities to attend after-school programs such as this, but based on the growth in just a few weeks, it seems that this free arts & crafts program is a hit!” said Crandle. “The students are enjoying the projects brought and taught to them by Ms. Andrea Freeman, Owner of ‘Do Me A Favah’ arts & personalized crafts company, along with other assisting instructors. A free Bi-Monthly Class offered of this kind is just what this local community needs!”
Freeman, who is also a special education teacher at Powell Middle School, agrees. She states, “There are few opportunities for kids to be exposed to art in school and we need more places where all students, including those with disabilities, can make crafts. You’d be amazed when you see what these kids can do.
From drawing to crafting, watercolor painting to special projects, the Specially Art program gives students the rare opportunity to discover and hone their highly individualized artistic talents. “I love to expose kids to different genres of art so they can see what they like,” shared Freeman. Meeting twice a month, these courses have been drawing 15-20 kids per session.”Many times, these kids and their parents had no idea that they had these talents. Once they discover the dream, we give them what it takes to make it happen,” Freeman said. The next Specialty Art session is scheduled to take place from 5:30-7:30 pm on February 25th at Stir Up the Gift. Call 352 600 8983 to reserve your child’s seat and stir up their gift.