Doodling Away the Day

Doodling away the day really isn’t a bad thing!

Mary Yeiser probably wasn’t thinking of doodling classes when she laid the groundwork for The Yeiser Art Center in the 1960s, but Bill Ford’s monthly Doodling Classes are certainly fulfilling her dream for children to be exposed to fine art in Western Kentucky.

Once a month, students grades K-12 gather at The Yeiser Art Center for the doodling classes. Students learn the history of doodling and how artists have used it as a starting point for building great works.

Doodling away the day To get the students’ creative muscles warmed up, Ford doodles an image on a blank piece of paper, and asks the students to begin building on the doodle with their own images. This “group doodle” helps the children become comfortable and frees them to cast images from their imaginations on to the page. After this warm-up exercise, students are on their own to create an individual “doodle.”

The class was introduced at The Yeiser Art Center as a way to introduce young people to fine art right here in their own community. Surrounded by the current exhibits at The Yeiser, students often pull from their surroundings to create their own doodling masterpieces.

The doodling classes have been fun for the children and their instructor. Ford looks on with delight as the children’s creative spirits emerge.

“These classes greatly benefit the children and allow them to express themselves,” said Ford. “It’s very relaxing and helps them use their minds in a very creative way. I find they become very excited working with all the loose and free images.”

Ford hopes to open a creative outlet with a doodling class for adults in the near future.

“It has been gratifying being with the children and developing their creativity, as well as their exposure to the Yeiser,” said Ford.

This is only one of several great things happening at The Yeiser Art Center this year. In April, an international exhibit of fiber art was on display in the Fantastic Fibers show. The Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen hosted shows in May and June. Paducah photographers submitted work for the Paducah Photo ’12 competition and exhibition. In addition to the international photo competition, there is also a regional component open only to Western Kentucky artists.

The Yeiser continuously looks for innovative ways to engage children and adults in the arts. They recently received funding to present a series of children’s art workshops, and through a partnership with the Paducah Arts Alliance they will host an artist in residence program.

“We see ourselves as a gateway to the visual arts in Paducah. We provide art education through our workshops and our work in the local schools,” said Michael Crouse, former YAC director. “Our mission is to open doors to the visual arts for people in Western Kentucky. We offer a place for local artists to display their work and bring international work for the community to enjoy.”