Budding artists range from ages 3 to 11
The 17 budding artists in the “Young at Heart” exhibition at ZFolio Gallery in Solvang are young in age, too.
They range from 3 years old like Klaire Wright and 4 like Malena Sanchez, Patrick Garvey and Isla Long to Zeadan Sherieff and Sophia Menelli, who are 11 years old.
Others are Sloan Ellis, Audrey Elcon and Lochlan Whalen, 5: Carly Mendizza, Kalie Wright, Samuel Sanchez, Henry Garvey, Eva Zivic and Layla Olmedo, 6; and Luca Merz Bass and Shelly Brophy, 7.
All are students of Art First Studio with teachers Halina Wyluda-Kazmierczak and Christine DiPego, who also have paintings in the show, which is on view through May 23 at the gallery, 1685 Copenhagen Drive.
The art works reflect exploration of a wide range of media from crayons and watercolors to acrylic and collage.
“Children can learn a lot through art, and when they draw, paint or make collages, they are learning about their world and creating a new reality,” said Ms. Wyluda-Kazmierczak during a phone interview from Solvang, where she was preparing for the opening of the exhibit last Friday. “When they use paints, pastels or just cut and paste, children are planning, trying out new things and solving problems.
“They develop manual ability and eye-hand coordination as they integrate cognitive knowledge and physical growth. As children mix paints, they learn to understand one thing can make changes in another. Art lets children make choices.”
A native of Elk, a small city in Poland, Ms. Wyluda-Kazmierczak earned her bachelor’s degree in art education and her master’s degree in fine arts at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland.
In 1990, she and her husband, Jarek, and two daughters, Amelia and Kalina, moved to Toronto, where they lived for 25 years before moving to Silicon Valley, when Mr. Kazmierczak, a software engineer, began working for Microsoft.
“When one of our daughters became a student at UCSB in 2016, we decided to move to Santa Ynez Valley in 2018,” said Ms. Wyluda-Kazmierczak, who opened Art First Studio in the heart of Solvang, offering classes for children of all ages and adults. At the end of 2020, the original location was closed, and now art classes are run at the back of ZFolio Gallery.
“Art is especially important to young children, but they do not need to make a finished product to learn from art. For children, what they are doing is most enjoyable, not what they make, and often the process is more important than the finished product. It gives them a way to let out their feelings and ideas, and every piece they complete gives them a sense of accomplishment,” said Ms. Wyluda-Kazmierczak.
“Art making should be a time to allow children to express their ideas and experiment with materials. By giving a time and place to be creative and to explore and experiment with different techniques and materials, I am hoping to help them to express themselves.
“Children show their feelings and ideas through art. When children are given the freedom to explore a variety of media, they can experience positive feelings about themselves and their work.”