WORCESTER — For a generation raised on electronic gadgets and television, the idea of pursuing crafts might seem novel, or quaint. The Worcester Center for Crafts aims to change all that, as they introduce their new, innovative Youth Craft + Creativity Program at a free event from 1-3 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Craft Center, located at 25 Sagamore Road in Worcester.
Classes in the new program are designed with an integrated, multi-disciplined approach to youth education for ages 6 through 17 that is creative, fun and hands-on. This event is designed as a sneak peek into the Youth Craft + Creativity Program and will provide information, demonstrations, and hands-on activities — plus an opportunity for advanced registration at a discount. For more information, contact Honee Hess, executive director of the Worcester Center for Crafts, at (508) 753-8183, ext. 302, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Worcester Center for Crafts was founded back in 1856, so it’s been in the community for a really long time,” Ms. Hess said. “We had a youth program in the past, but haven’t been hosting it for the last eight years. Recently, we began thinking about extending our service of teaching crafts to young people, and decided to start over, look at what are now the newest thoughts concerning teaching about crafts and youth education in general, and try to combine the newest and best thinking, so that we can really be pursuing something fresh for the community.”
The Craft Center has developed the Youth Craft + Creativity Program in response to parents, artists, educators and community members who have said it is needed — and needed now. “We’ve identified a void in Greater Worcester that we are trying to fill,” said Ms. Hess. “This new approach to craft education offers youth a window into creative 3-D thinking, knowledge of materials, and the mind skills and habits needed for the 21st century.”
Basically, the purpose of this event is to introduce potential students to a series of classes which will be beginning in October.
“They’ll be able to find out what the program is about at this event,” said Ms. Hess. “There will be hands-on events, demonstrations and other activities. We’ll also be offering a discount registration at the site, with a 10 percent off registration for the remaining courses.”
The Youth Craft + Creativity Program is distinct from other classes or programs because it is designed to teach the skills of craft while using it as a window that takes students beyond the book and the screen to actually “think” and “do.” Classes introduce skills to be makers as well as to the art, aesthetics, science, math, engineering, and design that are fundamental in learning and making crafts. In this way, students are not only taught to work with tools, but also to understand more about skills that transfer from classroom to the world beyond.
“Craft enriches our society and economy in many ways, from master goldsmiths to makers who build film sets and props, from the small-batch production of designer makers and industrial designers to one-off ceramic masterpieces, and from centuries-old traditions to cutting-edge digital making and new product development,” Ms. Hess said. “Makers contribute to sectors as diverse as engineering, manufacturing, medicine, technology, architecture, fashion and design.”
Throughout the year, the Youth Craft + Creativity Program classes will be offered for youth and teens, ages 6 through 17. Beginning Oct. 24, the Youth Craft + Creativity Program classes will be comprised of six-week sessions for students in age-appropriate groupings. The classes will meet once a week for two to three hours, depending on the class and age group. After-school and on weekends, the Youth Craft + Creativity Program classes will allow youth and teens access to hands-on making: ceramics, bookmaking, architecture, stained glass, glassblowing, jewelry-making, enameling, sculpture, 2-D to 3-D, puppetry, paper-making, fiber and textile arts, and much more.
Funding to create the Worcester Center for Crafts Center’s new Youth Craft + Creativity Program was provided by the Stoddard Charitable Trust, the Fletcher Family Foundation, the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Southbridge Savings Bank, United Bank, Webster Five, Millbury Savings Bank, and individual donors. Bay State Parent is a sponsor of the Sept. 24 sneak preview of the Youth Craft + Creativity Program.
“What makes this program different is that we’re not only using tools and skills that are essential, but we’ll also be introducing them to the arts and settings, including science, math and design, which are the foundation of craftmaking,” Ms. Hess said.
“We’re mindful of the fact that kids today largely understand the world through two-dimensional screens, so we would like to acquaint them with hands-on living tools and crafts, to help them learn, and give them the skills they will need to be productive members of society in the immediate future.”