A new children's art school is opening on Route 7 in Ridgefield on Saturday, but it's not your typical art studio. Hosting art, musical theater classes, birthdays and glow parties, the studio will also feature a wide variety of offerings for children and families including paint and sip, teen paint and pizza night, pictures with Santa and much more.
The Arts & Nature School of Ridgefield is holding a Grand Opening event Saturday, Nov. 11 that brings together many local artists including Michele Williams Photographer, George Brennan Music and Ridgefield CT Rocks. Famed graffiti artist Michael Cerullo, creator of murals at JoyRide and Whip Salon, is a featured guest at the Open House. Cynthia Rauschert, founder of Circus Moves, will hold class demos for her classes for kids from ages 3-12 that includes juggling, tight rope walking, stilt walking and other circus performing arts.
The studio also boasts a small pop-up shop that sells local artisans work from Sandy Hook based Aunt Cappy's Antiques, Jamie Knox of Lifting Spirits Creations and others.
Owner Wendy Mitchell, local resident and a member of the Ridgefield Arts Council and Ridgefield Youth Commission, was the founder of the Sandy Hook Arts Center for Kids (SHACK), founded by her after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. She has taught musical theater in the Greater Danbury area for the last 15 years, and will continue to do so at her new school.
"My philosophy centers around the concept that each child is different with unique talents and abilities. My job is to help develop those talents while building their self-esteem in a nurturing environment. Through theater games, improvisation, vocal and theater instruction, we're helping kids develop lifelong skills," Mitchell explained.
Art activities are largely based on using recycled and upcycled materials and items found in nature.
"When I was little we used to play outside all day long making tree forts and collecting pine cones and leaves in the woods. Now kids are hooked up to technology and studies show this can be detrimental to their health. We want to create projects and experiences that make kids ask questions about the earth and bring them back to nature to encourage imaginative and creative play, collaboration with their peers and social interaction between children."