Ridgefield celebrates Youth Arts Month in March


The Ridgefield School District celebrated the seventh annual Ridgefield Youth Arts Month in March in collaboration with the Ridgefield Art Association and the community.

Ridgefield Community Education Coordinator Terri Cochran detailed how successful the Arts Month was for families throughout the community, as well as surrounding towns who also participated.

“We have everything from preschool to adults,” said Cochran. “We have painting classes, dance for all ages, crochet, and family art where families come together to do collages.”

She said the district gathers participants through outreach efforts. They approached middle schoolers during lunch, who were “hard to reach,” and stopped by preschool classes to spread the word.

“We just try to hit all the age groups in all different manners, like offering them art classes on Zoom, giving them pre-made art kits to complete them at home,” Cochran said. “We do everything we can to reach as many age groups as possible.”

Through their efforts, Cochran said the district was able to create 25 different classes, which featured over 600 participants. Most of those who took part are from Ridgefield, since the classes and activities were held after school, but some came from neighboring towns. Besides classes for kids, there was also an introduction to watercolor class, which Cochran said was aimed at high schoolers and adults in the community. Those who participated in the class were given an art kit and completed the class on Zoom.

According to Cochran, the family collage projects were a “huge success.”  It was the first time the district offered the classes. Since the first class filled up fast, the district offered a second class later on.

On Saturday, March 12, students in kindergarten through eighth grade did a stage performance of Johnny Appleseed, which was coordinated by the Missoula Children’s Theatre, which is a traveling theater troupe.

“It went really well and we were almost at capacity,” Cochran said. “The production actually happened the first day the mask mandate had been dropped, so to see everybody’s faces in the production was really nice. The kids had a blast, and parents are already waiting for next year, which is how it is for Missoula (productions) everywhere. If you talk to any kids who’ve done one, they love it.”

A particular artwork that stood out to Cochran was the family collage. Another was Rider the Spider, which was a collaboration with the Columbia Play Project. The story and project had participants make webs with paint and salt, and a woman dressed in a spider costume.

Cochran was impressed by vases made in the ceramic classes, which were taught by Michelle Hankins from View Ridge Middle School. The kids used clay and formed imprints out of weeds, stems, and branches.

“They turned out amazing,” she said.

Cochran also enjoyed the pre-made art kits, one of which featured a monster sculpture. She said she gave them to 60 kids of all age groups.

“It came with air-dry clay, paint, brushes, and tablecloths so they wouldn’t make a mess, as well as paper and video instructions, depending on which method they learned best,” Cochran said.

On March 29, the Ridgefield School District Art Show was held. Art teachers from each school selected pieces to showcase, like sculptures and paintings. Then there was Art in Action on March 30, which is coordinated by Dance Fusion NW and focuses on different dance classes that kids perform for their families. Cochran considers Art in Action the “grand finale” of the Arts Month. 

Cochran said all the classes and activities were free. They were sponsored by the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation, Rose Real Estate, ABM Janitorial, Dance Fusion NW, Woodland Chiropractic, and the Ridgefield Community Gleaners Association.


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