Kidzart provides missing outlet for kids in Zebulon

mhankerson@newsobserver.comJune 27, 2014 

— Town Hall is supporting children’s art education this month by displaying art from students from East Wake Academy and Zebulon Elementary created through the Kidzart program.

Kidzart, which came to eastern Wake County in 2011, is a program not affiliated with schools but serves as an additional art class for students.

Instructors visit elementary and middle school students to help kids learn different artistic techniques while incorporating academic material into the lessons.

“We actually teach them instruction of art and use college-level materials,” said owner Lisa Swinson. She said students don’t use pencils in the classes, instead they use Sharpies and have to improvise if they make a mistake.

All instruction has an educational spin to it, focusing on science or social studies topics, Swinson said.

She said even with the educational focus, she really wants to emphasize the arts.

“I am also a licensed administrator and elementary teacher so I know the importance of making sure the needs of the whole child are met,” Swinson said. “So not only do they learn the basics ... but they also get to use their creative minds.”

Kidzart provides an outlet that Swinson says has been missing in Zebulon since she was growing up in the town.

“When I was growing up, if you did some extracurricular activities, it usually meant going outside of Zebulon or Wendell,” she said. “There wasn’t a lot for children to do.”

And even though Zebulon’s parks and recreation department has helped with that problem, the town still struggles to provide artistic outlets for children.

Last month, Zebulon’s Board of Commissioners rejected an offer on the town’s old town hall building. Four local men, Glenn Lewis, Mark Cronk, Blake Lewis and Dallas Pearce, put in the offer and had plans to create an arts council that would provide a space to foster arts programs in downtown Zebulon.

Ultimately, the center was supposed to help jump start the revitalization of downtown Zebulon.

After Zebulon rejected the offer, Knightdale began looking at ways to incorporate a similar idea, even asking for input from Cronk, the Lewises and Pearce.

As of right now, there are no immediate plans to create an arts council in Knightdale.

The town of Zebulon later sold the building to John Muter, who plans to open an office to house his construction business.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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