Giving the gift of art

By the time people start reading this, it’ll be Christmas Eve.

By the time people start reading this, it’ll be Christmas Eve. For most people, that means it’s time to relax, maybe do some last minute wrapping or even watch a bunch of Christmas movies before you shuffle off to bed. However, if you’re anything like me, it’s time for that last minute scramble to get Christmas presents for friends and family.

This can be a tough thing to figure out sometimes, especially for younger kids, like mine — although I suspect older kids are going to be a different kind of trick. You can’t go wrong with things like stuffed animals and my daughter is absolutely in love with books, which are always a great gift. However, for those looking for something a little different this year, a couple of interesting things came to my attention this past week or so.

The first, was seeing that the Summerland Arts Council after school program is starting up again Jan. 13 with a five week class on working with clay, as well as a five week class devoted to drama and speech arts — public speaking and activities like that — which starts Jan. 20. These are great for kids in the seven to eight year-old range who enjoy creative things or, more importantly, who might be looking to improve skills like public speaking. Classes like these are a great idea because it helps kids get a taste of the creative arts. If you think working with clay or the dramatic arts might be something your child will enjoy, pop on over to the Summerland Arts Council website,, and look for their programs for kids.

On a similar level is the Little Tree Music Together program, which also has classes here in Summerland starting in January. I love everything about this program, just based on what I’ve read, because my little girl absolutely loves music. All you really need to get her dancing is simply saying, “Dance, dance, dance,” and on more than one occasional she’s disappeared around a corner to follow the music, so she can dance to it—and that’s not even getting into how hard it can be to play guitar at times because she’s trying to play, too.

The Little Tree Music Together program is one of those things that I’m thrilled to have around here. As nice as it is to get my daughter into music at home, I can’t wait to get her in an environment where she’s surrounded by other kids and able to sing, dance and really let go is just fantastic. As far as I’m concerned, she can’t get enough exposure to musical education, even at just over a year old and I’ll be signing her up for this program very soon. For more information on the Little Tree Music Together program, visit their website at

Programs like these can really help kids find what they love. Even if they never touch a piece of clay again, or swear off music after their classes, it’s worth exploring interests like these on the off chance something catches.

Douglas Paton is a Summerland writer and musician. If you know of a local arts and culture event, contact him at


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