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Art, with a patriotic twist





Paper, paint and straws added up to fireworks at the Hays Arts Council's Patriotic Pride workshop Wednesday.

The workshop was part of the Fourth of July Countdown for youngsters.

For many people, the week is busy with holiday plans. But some have guests visiting, and some day cares aren't open the week of the Wild West Festival.

"Sometimes people's schedules get better," said Brenda Meder, HAC executive director.

Jennifer Younger, Hays Middle School and Washington Elementary School art teacher, was the instructor for the three days of workshops.

"They stay involved and have things to do, and still be creative during the summer doing things they like," Younger said of the summer workshops.

Younger's son, Tyson, 4, was all smiles as he colored his version of red, white and blue fireworks.

Eight youngsters signed up to kick off the holiday with patriotic themed projects using paint, wood, paper, scissors, glue and glitter, Meder said.

"It's one of my favorite things to do," Caitlin Leiker, 10, said of art.

Caitlin and Mackenzie Cunningham, 8, created colorful fireworks by sprinkling paint on paper and blowing through straws to make fanciful designs simulating fireworks.

Others such as Rylie Fairbank, 8, her brother, Bryson, 6, and Tyson Younger, used wax crayons to create their fireworks on paper.

Rylie likes seeing fireworks, "but my dog doesn't. He's scared. ... He just runs and hides under the bed."

After they finished making pictures of fireworks, Taylor Depenbusch, 8, and Canon Meder, 7, moved to the next project, using their fingers as a stamp to make the stars and stripes of the flag.

"These are real art classes, not glorified babysitting," Brenda Meder said.

Eight to 12 students is a good size for the classes, she said.

"There's so much that goes on at the summer classes. They are a quality experience. It makes us feel like we're offering something -- arts learning and arts interaction."