It’s not uncommon for a Final Friday showing to be a budding creative’s first foray into exhibiting. It’s less common for children as young as 4 and 5 to be featured artists during the monthly art crawl.
That’s exactly what is happening at the Labor Party on Friday night, though. It’s all part of a collaborative effort to jumpstart the Children’s Champions fundraising event put on by Child Start, a nonprofit that provides early childhood development services.
Brandi Koskie, a community volunteer for the group, said she wanted to drum up some extra interest and excitement ahead of this year’s event, May 31 at Botanica. Friday night’s show is a preview party. A central element to the event is featuring kids as artists, she said. That fits into the overall mission of Child Start, which aims to prepare young children from birth to age 5 for lifelong success.
“Final Friday is always an exciting night, and we see so many people here at the Labor Party space each month. We wanted to do something new to get more people involved with our mission at Child Start this year, so it made sense to invite the public in while they’re already out,” Koskie said. “Rather than the usual art event, we want to get people motivated to be part of us and see our mission on display. We’re all about happy, successful kids, and you’ll see that in the artwork on display.”
The Labor Party, a downtown collaborative space for creative professionals in Wichita, hosts regular art openings. Koskie works professionally out of the space and helped coordinate the show. Their mission to foster synergy among the city’s creative class mixes well with the theme for Children’s Champions.
The after-work cocktail-style event aims to honor community leaders, organizations and businesses who have positively affected kids.
Art teachers with Child Start challenged their students to create works for the show illustrating their dream jobs. Fifteen total pieces will be displayed, and all of the kids who made the works have been invited to attend. The paintings will vary in size, medium and subject matter. Each will be accompanied by a photograph of the artist, along with his or her age and a QR code. Smartphone users can scan the barcode and hear a special audio of the children talking about what their work of art means to them.
“I interviewed a girl who proudly proclaimed that she did her painting all by herself,” Koskie said. “It was so sweet. The level of confidence this brings to these young kids is invaluable.”
The art on display will be part of a silent auction during Children’s Champions next month. Koskie said event-goers often get into good-natured bidding wars over the works. Another highlight of that evening will be the Dream Jobs Live Auction. Bidders can win a day in the life of some interesting local professionals, including the Chick-fil-A cow mascot and a Tanganyika Wildlife zookeeper. Tickets for the Children’s Champions event will be on sale during the art show.
Koskie said she’s proud of the works produced by the kids and hopes those doing the art crawl will take a moment to consider the significance of art from a very young perspective.
“Seeing this art just makes me giddy. These pieces are positive and happy. These kids don’t have a care in the world. We all have way too many, but they are so carefree and happy,” she said. “There’s a whole crowd that analyzes art. You can do the same with kid art. There is still as much to ponder and think about.”