Traverse City Attractions: Youthful Creativity Springs Up at KidzArt

When Kate Daggett became the Executive Director Traverse City’s KidzArt in December of 2010, she had no idea how rewarding the experience would be. Daggett has been involved with the program since August of 2009 and raves about its benefits: “Art is such a safe place for kids of all backgrounds and situations. I absolutely love what I do, and getting creative and goofy with a bunch of kids is not work for me.”

Children as young as 2 and up through 18 can participate in classes and during the summer months KidzArt hosts week-long camps, drop-in workshops and many special activities. They also offer a variety of brief art programs during local events such as Cherry Festival, Film Fest and Friday Night Live which are perfect for parents who want to do some exploring of their own. “We live in such an amazing town,” Daggett says. “I’m happy that KidzArt can be utilized to show off all the great things for families to do here.”

KidzArt is by no means limited to summertime entertainment. “The meat and potatoes of KidzArt is our after school program,” Daggett explains. “This fall we will be in seven area schools and are hoping to increase that number. With art being cut left and right in schools all over Michigan, it’s nice knowing that there is KidzArt available to offer an after school program for families that see what a difference art makes in their children.” With nine years worth of curriculum, students will never repeat a project.

The interior of the downtown Traverse City KidzArt is decorated with works of art from children of all ages, with a front room used for special events (such as birthday parties) and a large back room that serves as a quiet and soothing place to work. This summer, Daggett has events such as “Make a Splash,” “Sparkly Stuff” and “Around the World” that focus on creating themed-art in many different mediums.

Both Daggett and the KidzArt website stress that the program is non-competitive; the real goal is to give young people a place to express creativity and enjoy different art forms. The studio walls house three large signs that read “Please Work Quietly,” “It Does NOT Have to be Perfect” and “Have Fun.” Daggett maintains the importance of making mistakes and not worrying about creating a perfect piece every time. “The KidzArt teaching style allows children to be successful no matter what’s on their paper,” she says.

KidzArt is a great opportunity and resource for both kids and adults and Daggett welcomes visitors to stop by the State Street location to see the programs firsthand. KidzArt is open Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and is located at 129 E. State Street Traverse City, MI 49684. Please call Kate Daggett at 231.421.1222 or visit kidzartmi.com for more information.

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