The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Michelle Bigelbach
The Courier 

Area Children Tap Into Their Creative Side

Will be Featured As July's Artists of the Month At Wheatgrass


Michelle Bigelbach / The Courier

Sara (Wittmayer) Wesen (second from left) shows (l to r) Lillian Baumgartner, Ava Budde and Riley Pattison how to create a Montana landscape and campsite collage during Wheatgrass Arts and Gallery's Summer Art Camp on June 18.

Local children participated in a summer art camp taught by Sara (Wittmayer) Wesen at the Wheatgrass Arts and Gallery, June 17 through June 27. The children were split between two weeks and worked on creative masterpieces two hours each day, creating six dynamic art projects, including a mural which will be displayed at the Glasgow City-County Library.

The mural will have different themes in regards to reading, depending upon age level of the artist. "Each age level will create their own board reflecting their reading interest," explained Wesen. The younger kids focused their mural on the story and plot of their favorite books, while the older kids focused on the passion of reading, including what they get out of reading and what they enjoy. The murals will find a home on top of the bookshelves in the children's area of the library. In addition to the mural, children created a ceramic fish, a painted glass light, a barn quilt painting, a Montana landscape and campsite collage as well as a summer-themed watercolor painting.

The students' creations will be on display at Wheatgrass Arts and Gallery throughout the month of July and the students will be featured as the gallery's July Artists of the Month. A reception will be held in their honor on Sunday, July 7, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

"It has been really cool seeing the excitement of people in the community with these classes. This process [of hosting the Art Camp] has been a learning curve for community needs," stated Wesen. Due to the overwhelming interest and support, Wesen has adult classes in the works, and will also be offering more youth classes in the fall. Projects and dates are still being determined but according to Wesen, the thought is to have silk screen adult classes that would consist of four to six nights where attendees would learn about the process and youth classes would occur every other Sunday. "I'm thinking of having different ages at different times," stated Wesen.

Wesen's relationship with the gallery started a year ago when owner Mary Fahlgren tracked her down. "We started discussing the vision of this place [Wheatgrass Arts and Gallery] and I'm passionate about providing the opportunity [of classes] to the community," stated Wesen.

The mission of the gallery is simple, "building community through art," and that mission is on the forefront with everything Fahlgren does. "I want to provide things other bigger cities have. Small towns need art," stated Fahlgren. She admittedly is thrilled and honored Wesen wants to bring the community together through art by hosting various classes. "It's so exciting to have Sara. She provides what I can't and is an incredible resource. It's so wonderful having her," Fahlgren stated.

Hosting art classes are nothing new to Wesen as she has offered classes in the past to the community, most recently last spring, and she is currently the Nashua art and family consumer science teacher at Nashua school. " I want to provide the same opportunities in art I wanted as a kid," stated Wesen, explaining her want to provide art resources to the community. "It's a perfect balance between giving back, family and work," she said.

Wesen first got her inspiration in the art realm when she was in third grade. A visiting artist with the Montana Fine Arts Council visited her school, and discussed art as a profession. "It left such an impression on me. I never thought I could make a career out of art," recalled Wesen. She attended and graduated from MSU-Bozeman, majoring in art and art education as well as received a minor in family and consumer science education. Even though she has graduated, Wesen takes continuing education courses to build new skills. "In college, I thought of myself as a print maker, drawer and sculptor. When I started teaching, I saw students loved ceramics, so I went back and took some classes, built those skills and turned out I liked it too. I have dabbled in so many areas," stated Wesen.

She considers herself an educator first and foremost and an artist as secondary. Her students certainly have recognized that as she often gets drawings of her self from her students. "Whenever kids draw me, they always have to make sure to draw me with my apron on," laughed Wesen. She feels lucky to have the opportunity to teach art in the community and can't wait to see what the future will hold for classes at both the adult and child level.

In addition to Wesen's upcoming classes, Wheatgrass Arts and Gallery also offers a free open studio night the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month from 6:30 to 9 p.m., as well as private lessons. For more information, contact Mary Fahlgren at the gallery, 230-0148 or stop by 523 2nd Ave S., Glasgow.


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