A new children’s art school opened on Route 7 on the Redding/Ridgefield town line in early November and has been buzzing with activity despite the fierce weather Mother Nature has unleashed. The Arts & Nature School offers art, musical theater classes, birthday parties, “Splatterday” splatter painting events and one-of-a-kind glow parties. The studio features a wide variety of offerings for children and families including paint and sip, teen paint and pizza night, Mommy & Me Music & Movement, Kid’s Karaoke, knitting, workshops and much more.
The Arts & Nature School of Ridgefield was opened by Wendy Mitchell, local resident and a member of the Ridgefield Arts Council and Ridgefield Youth Commission. Wendy, a singer/bass player and writer, was the founder of the nonprofit healing arts studio Sandy Hook Arts Center for Kids (SHACK), founded by her after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in her hometown in 2012. She has taught musical theater in the Greater Danbury area for the last 15 years, and will continue to do so at her new school.
“My philosophy centers around the concept that each child is different with unique talents and abilities. My job is to help develop those talents while building their self-esteem in a nurturing environment. Through theater games, improvisation, vocal and theater instruction, we’re helping kids develop lifelong skills,” Mitchell said.
Art activities are largely based on using recycled and upcycled materials and items found in nature.
“When I was little we used to play outside all day long making tree forts and collecting pine cones and leaves in the woods. Now kids are hooked up to technology and studies show this can be detrimental to their health. We want to create projects and experiences that make kids ask questions about the earth and bring them back to nature to encourage imaginative and creative play, collaboration with their peers and social interaction between children.”
In the two months since she has opened, Wendy has held fundraisers and events for the greater Danbury Women’s Center, Dylan’s Wings of Change, Newtown Strong Therapy Dogs, Family & Children’s Aid and Meals on Wheels. You many have seen Wendy and her 17-year-old daughter volunteering under the tent doing face painting at the Georgetown Winter Festival to raise funds for the Redding Fire Department and Rising Starr Horse Rescue.
The next Splatterday splatter painting event for kids ages 2-10 is on Friday, Jan. 19 from 4-6pm, Saturday, Jan. 20 from 10am-12pm or 3-5pm and Sun. Jan. 22 from 12-2pm.
The Arts & Nature School’s Winter Session begins on Monday, January 8, 2018. Click here for class offerings and registration information.