Event is geared toward those 2 to 10 and includes hands-on experiences

Published in the April 18 – May 1, 2018 issue of Gilroy Life

Ann Bueno helps her 4-year-old son Brian Bueno, who attends St John’s Preschool, learn to blow soap bubbles annual Art a la Carte children’s arts and craft fair  at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center plaza. 

Families from throughout the South Valley are invited to the annual Art a la Carte to help budding young Picassos and Frida Kahlos discover how to express their creativity through painting and other mediums. The fun-in-the-sun free event goes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at downtown Morgan Hill’s Community & Cultural Center.

“The is geared for all children ages two to 10. We have local businesses creating a ‘stop and explore’ hands on art experience,” said organizer Brigitte Crawford, who is a member of the Library and Arts Commission in Morgan Hill. “The children get to create various art pieces with different mediums and are also exposed to live, local and young talent from within our own community. The art projects at each booth are geared toward the younger children and encourage family participation.”

This year’s theme is the Environment: It’s Easy to Be Green. Booth sponsors are encouraged to offer earth-friendly, recycled and/or recyclable elements to their art project.

There will be musical performances, food trucks as well as a fire engine and police car for children to learn about and explore. Each booth offers a unique art project that will allow budding artists to express themselves.

Local businesses and community members can either sponsor a booth and share an art idea at the event or just donate to the cause, Crawford said.

“We are always looking for ways to build attendance as well as activities at the event,” she said. “Some of our generous sponsors include Colibri Framing, Morgan Hill Historical Society, Morgan Hill Preschool Academy, Music as Language, Recology South Valley, Santa Clara Valley Contractors Association, Tinker Learning Center, Valley del Sur Art Guild and Morgan Hill Art School.”

The free event takes place in downtown Morgan Hill and welcomes families from San Martin, Gilroy and elsewhere to share the experience of introducing children to artistic creativity.

Parents, grandparents, care providers and teachers are all encouraged to bring their children to learn, listen, observe and participate in the day’s events. Businesses can sign up for a booth and share an age-appropriate art project for this year’s event.

Art a la Carte was started as a Leadership Morgan Hill Class Project.  Morgan Hill Community Foundation board member Amy Whelan has kept it going for nearly a decade.

Library and Cultural Arts Commissioners have been involved, but this is our first year taking on this exciting event without Whelan, Crawford said.

This year the LCAC is managing the entire event. They partnered with the MHCF in the past and this year the torch was passed to the commissioners and they are running with it, she said.

“Each of us has taken on a specific role with responsibilities that showcase our strengths and interests outside of LCAC and also give us an incredible venue to reach out and engage our community and the love of art, creation and the environment with our youngest members,” she said. “For all of us commissioners, this is such an exciting way to revisit art through the eyes of a child. We are continually expanding art exhibition opportunities to our local youth, and on this day, we get to see the children explore and create right before our eyes.”

In the past, LCAC members have either worked or volunteered with children and encouraging their creative and artistic expression before their appointments to the commission, she said.

“This wonderful day that we have been planning since last fall gives all of us a chance to appreciate and encourage the excitement and exuberance of our community’s youngest members,” she said. “Coloring, painting, sculpting, cutting, folding, adhering are all elements of creativity this event showcases to children in one venue. It is a great way to spend your Saturday, as a family, in your community and exposing your child or children to fun art projects.”

For additional information, please contact the LCAC at LibraryCulturalArt_Commision@morganhill.ca.gov.