Kinsler Creel is the youngest member of his Longview Museum of Fine Arts class. Not only that, it’s the 8-year-old’s first time attending a summer class. So, naturally, he said he was nervous at first.
By the second day of class Wednesday, Kinsler was steadily sketching away and dabbing at a drawing of his character with his fingertip to blend the pencil marks.
“I like it,” he said of the class.
Kinsler is one of the students enrolled in “A Multiverse of Art,” one of numerous classes offered by the Longview Museum of Fine Arts as part of its Youth Education & Summer Art Program.
The summer classes kicked off Tuesday and will run until July 28.
The classes for various age groups are offered at various times throughout the summer months.
“A Multiverse of Art,” which concludes today, is described as a class in which “students will do a series of projects built around a comic or manga character (hero or villain) they come up with.”
Instructor Josh Breedlove said he started the students out Tuesday by running through the basic proportions of the head and also having them write down the aspects their character would personify. By Wednesday, the students were working on a final draft of their character portraits.
“It’s ‘gonna look exactly how they describe it, with accurate proportions, facial features, details, stuff like that,” Breedlove said.
The students were set to work on their characters’ dynamic poses after finishing their portraits, he said. This could include everything from flying and jumping to fighting, he added.
Creating a scene for their characters — whether that’s another planet, a city or some other location — also was on Wednesday’s agenda, Breedlove said.
Kinsler said his character, which is a scorpion man, is appropriately named “Scorpion.” He said he originally wanted to do a character such as Spider-Man, but he said “Mr. B” — as he calls Breedlove — persuaded him to come up with an original character.
Kinsler added that he’s been drawing since he was 3 and loves it as a hobby.
Gia Shepherd, 13, was at another table Wednesday sketching details on her character that has metal wings and a grappling hook. Gia’s a veteran of the museum’s summer art program and said she’s been attending since third or fourth grade.
“But I’ve never done this exact class before. I thought it would be interesting,” she said.
Gia wanted her character to have something to do with espionage and spycraft and was inspired after reading and watching television shows related to heists, she said.
“That’s just what I’ve been watching lately. ... I wanted it to maybe take place in the 1920s or 1940s city,” she said.
LMFA Communications Director Kate Houghton said on the last day of each class, the students’ artwork is displayed as a mini exhibition for their parents to view.
Museum Executive Director Tiffany Jehorek said students were enrolled in summer classes this past summer, and she expects the number to be consistent this year, if not higher. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, only limited classes with reduced class size were offered last summer, she said.
“Even during COVID, when it might have seemed like a challenge, there were so many parents that wanted to make sure that their children participated in the arts, but the participation this year is looking phenomenal,” Houghton said.
The museum regularly offers programs throughout the year for youth and adults, but summer classes are the only ones offered during the day in order to coincide with children being out of school, Houghton said.
“Art can be your passion, and it can be your career, and we wanna tell that story more and more and engage children now and show them how they can pursue art long-term,” Houghton said.