veteran local artist starts new art program for kids
Walking the concrete hallways of Banbury Place, you would never expect your next turn to be so colorful, creative and full of laughter. Colorful paintings scatter the walls, unique art pieces sit on shelves, and children busily sort through the various supplies that will create their art masterpieces. Look around. You’re at Da Vinci’s Workshop, a weekly art program for kids ages 4-11.
“I’m trying to develop a group of young artists that come in consistently so that we can interact and work together,” said instructor and founder of Da Vinci’s Workshop, Paula Gorski.
The program has been around since 2003 and has taken place in various areas around Eau Claire and even in Gorski’s home. But now Da Vinci’s Workshop is getting a more permanent space in Banbury Place that allows children to really spread out and make friends while learning new art skills with recycled materials.
For Gorski, an alumna of UW-Eau Claire, teaching children art has been an important part of her life. She taught in Bolivia, St. Paul and various schools in Eau Claire. She is currently a substitute teacher.
But it is her personal passion for art that pushed her to begin an art program of her own, Da Vinci’s Workshop. She said that her past experiences, relationships, and other cultures are what she draws from for her own art pieces, which include colorful paintings and pieces wrapped with unique fabrics. She passes on her talents and passion to the young artists who take her class.
“This is, in some ways, my dream come true,” Gorski said.
While she said the classes are simply meant to be fun for the kids, there are bigger reasons for children to experience Da Vinci’s Workshop.
“I believe art is about problem solving,” she said. To her, art is about learning different ways to work with materials without being married to one idea. It’s about being flexible and not being afraid, something she believes is important for other moments in life.
Each class has a different theme, such as making masks, sock puppets, clay figures and paper mâché pieces. Gorski begins with a warm-up drawing exercise, tells a story about an artist or style of art, and then introduces the project for the day.
Da Vinci’s Workshop classes are offered every Saturday year round at Banbury Place, Studio #127. Find more info at Facebook.com/DaVincisWorkshop.