© Eric Bell
Kimberly Kozun (back row, left) with some of the members of Soul Art.
The Prince Albert Arts Centre was abuzz with children of all ages Wednesday, as the group “Soul Art” had the chance to display their work from the past few months in a professional gallery setting.
“Soul Art” is a group of children and teenagers that meet once per week under the guidance of teacher Kimberly Kozun. The program has been in operation since they received a grant from the City of Prince Albert last January, and seeks to help children gain confidence and explore different art mediums.
“We provide the supplies, workspace and a mentorship program where we can explore their creativity, individuality and just get them to try something different that they would like to do,” Kozun said.
Currently the program has three different groups. One for girls under 15, another for girls over 15, and a separate boy’s group.
“It’s really nice to see a variety of ages coming out, as well as the boys,” Kozun said. “Last year we only had the girls group, but because of interest we opened it up to the boys, and it’s nice to have a group of guys together sharing their interests and practising different techniques.”
Soul Art is currently at capacity for the season, but Kozun says she is looking at expanding the program to several nights per week due to increasing interest.
For Kozun, teaching the class has been a rewarding experience.
“I think I learn more and more from the students then they learn from me,” Kozun said. “It’s nice to coach them and guide them along the techniques, but definitely I hope they will explore their individuality, boost their self-esteem and try something new.”
While the class aims to teach students new art techniques, the children in the program are welcome to stick to the art form they feel most comfortable with.
“I want to introduce them to all types of mediums, but the kids don’t always have to do that,” Kozun said. “For the little guys I always do a mini-lesson at the beginning and show them a few techniques and then they can explore whatever they would like to do. Some of them still like to stick with sketching and painting or whatever they are the strongest at, but many of them will try out new things.”
Kozun says that she sees the most growth in her older students.
“The older group takes more chances and takes more risk,” Kozun said. ”They usually come in knowing what they want to do, sit down with a blank slate and then something amazing comes out of it.”
Tylee Hewison is one of Kozun’s teenaged students. Often sketching during her free time, Hewison never thought of pursuing art until joining the group two months ago. Hewison says having a place to come and do art is a “calming experience” that helps her get in her “art fix.”
“I do art all the time,” Hewison said. “Everyday, I sketch at least once. I like creating stuff, having a blank piece of paper and taking things from my mind and putting it on there.“
Wednesday was the first time Hewison has ever put her art on display for the public to see.
“It’s kind of Freaky,” Hewison said. “I don’t show people my art so it’s something that will take some getting used to.”
For Kozun, the best part about instructing the group is seeing how her students change throughout the program.
“It’s great to see them grow,” Kozun said. “Not only in the paintings but in themselves.”