In a sunny room full of windows upstairs at Rutland’s Chaffee Art Center, a row of yellow tie-dyed shirts are draped over folding chairs ready to be used as smocks for the next “Paint and Sip.”
This is the room where most of the Chaffee’s kids’ classes take place. A winter scene is painted on one of the windows. Paintings from past classes hang on the walls, including a colorful one by Sherri Birkheimer Rooker, the marketing, event management, and organizational services person. She also teaches one of the many ongoing kids’ classes the Chaffee offers every Saturday.
“Last week we had somebody come; he was not sure he wanted to stay,” Birkheimer Rooker said. “At the end he came downstairs and showed me what he made, and he didn’t want to leave. So it’s introducing young people to art. They’re going to learn things but in a fun way, and maybe (they’ll be interested in) coming back for other things.”
The subject of classes alternates every Saturday, and they take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. They’re run by community members, many of whom are teachers at nearby schools, and cover everything from crafts to food.
The first Saturday of the month is “All About the Arts.” “It could be painting stone mandalas, it could be music,” Birkheimer Rooker said. “It’s open.”
“Paint and Sip for Kids” falls on the second Saturday of each month, with the next class on Nov. 10. Juice boxes and snacks are offered and the kids leave with a finished painting.
“The next one will be an owl,” Birkheimer Rooker said.
On the third Saturday it’s “Let’s Get Crafty,” the next one will be on Nov. 17.
“A teacher at Mount Holly is doing that one,” Birkheimer Rooker said.
“She did a leaf printing on T-shirts, and the next one is going to be mosaic candles with crepe paper.”
Birkheimer Rooker runs the fourth Saturday class, “The heART of Cooking,” where aspiring chefs can learn how to measure and mix ingredients, cook, bake, test to know when something is done, and how to present the food and table with fun themed decorations.
“We do all ages,” Birkheimer Rooker said. “If they’re under 7 an adult usually has to stay, but it’s just about having fun with these things on Saturdays. You have a sense of accomplishment. And the art they do is awesome.”