Arlington art classes an exercise in creativity

ARLINGTON — Maryn Gregory’s tastes are similar to many 10-year-olds — she has an affinity with soccer, animals and books.

But it was the Presidents Elementary School student’s creative side that came out during a recent summer art class at Arlington High School.

Gregory was one of about a dozen Arlington students to take part in high school art instructor Bev Schatz’s “All About Me” art book classes July 19-21.

The two multi-day class sessions gave enrolled students in first- through sixth-grade a chance to create homemade art journals using pencils, markers, pastels, scissors and paste, as well as their minds.

“Students love to do things on themselves, and I thought it would be a fun project to do,” Schatz said about the class. “It’s very therapeutic to cut and paste.”

Schatz has taught summer art classes at Arlington High School and other schools for the past 30 years. Each year, she changes classes, such as this year’s book class, to keep students interested.

Participation varies. Some classes have 15 students, while others have only a few.

“It’s hit or miss on what you get,” Schatz said. “In the summer time, parents get kids involved in other things. It all depends on what’s out there.”

The classes are part of the city of Arlington Parks and Recreation Department summer classes. The classes vary in subject matter — from sports camps to cooking courses — and continue through August.

Among those offerings, Schatz’s classes have allowed students to create 3-D letters, learn about the color wheel and hand-craft and write graphic novels.

The “All About Me” book was the second-to-last class available to students and their parents.

Sitting on a stool, 12-year-old Jacob Rengen took full advantage of his time with Schatz. The incoming Post Middle School seventh-grader had already completed the first few pages of his book, which included entries on his family tree, a “Heroes” page that included the likes of George Washington and Howard Carter, the English archaeologist who discovered the Egyptian tomb of Tutankhamun, and a favorite books page.

Rengen, a self-admitted history buff, used pencils and pastels to color his pictures.

“I’ve learned that I’m a really good artist once I slow down and put my mind to it,” said Rengen, who had never had met Schatz before this year. “I’ve learned to take a different perspective.”

Arlington resident Wendy Loftis, whose sons Noah and Vincent enrolled in Schatz’s book class, said that her children love the class.

“We like a break between all the sports camps and art is a nice break,” Loftis said. “You’ve got to have variety. It’s nice for them that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. You can just go with it.”

Individuals can still enroll in Schatz’s last art course, “Stepping Stones,” which takes place from 9 a.m. to noon on July 29 and 30.

The class give students in fourth- through sixth-grade, as well as adults, an opportunity to craft a garden stone using colored glass and either pre-made or custom patterns.

Cost for the class is $55. Registration forms for the classes can be picked up at City Hall (238 N. Olympic Avenue, Arlington) or downloaded at

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