Dot Art offers drop-in classes for kids at the Little House

Dot Art: Teacher Cheryl Robinson instructs Kyree Williams-Hunter, age 7 in making a Mardi Gras hat.Dot Art: Teacher Cheryl Robinson instructs Kyree Williams-Hunter, age 7 in making a Mardi Gras hat.

Since 1998, The Dot Art Studio has created access to art for pupils of Dorchester. The organization continues to create opportunities in the arts with their ongoing Saturday Open Studio program that began last October. The program is one of seven courses that give students the opportunity to explore their creativity.

The Open Studio Classes are held at the Little House, 275 East Cottage St. each Saturday. Kids ages 3-5 can participate from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Kids age six to 11 are in a session from 12:30 to 2 p.m.. The program is considered drop-in, meaning students are not required to sign up for a full 10 week session.

During classes, students experiment with artistic methods including drawing, painting, and design. The program has an exploratory approach, according to DotArt Director Liz Carney, who encourages students to “try something that’s going to create a sense of freedom.”

The courses are taught by Cheryl Robinson, a local Boston artist and Dot Art’s Educational Program Manager. Using teaching tools such as white boards in class “will be a sign to our young artists that ultimately they are in charge of their own learning, projects, and happiness in the studio and life,” Robinson explained. Robinson co-instructs Open Studio classes with Tracy Huerta, a volunteer from Lesley University’s Art Therapy Program.

DotArt provides positive reinforcement of imagination and materials that may not be available at home or school. Class sizes range from eight to 10 students and encourage collaborative art making. The most important aspect of the program is teaching students to trust their skills in a “safe and encouraging environment where they can feel at home,” Carney said.

The Open Studios program has maintained constant community support. The consistency is due to the positive feedback of families who have spread word of the program across the neighborhood, she said.

DotArt is grateful for the classroom space donated by College Bound Dorchester, which owns and manages the Little House. The organization donated a space that was “five times as much space” as their previous classroom, Carney noted. College Bound’s donation also increased awareness of the Open Studio’s program throughout Dorchester.

The Open Studio program has a fee of $10 per class. DotArt does offer scholarships and sliding payment scales for the course. Those interested in scholarship opportunities can contact office@dotart.org.

Students interested in DotArt programs can look forward to the upcoming April Vacation Program beginning on Tuesday, April 21 and continuing through Friday, April 21. Students will learn the importance of public art and will make art for the neighborhood.
To find more information on DotArt’s mission and to register for their upcoming programs visit dotart.org or call 617-905-7432.

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