News Column

OPINION: Coyote Corner: a room for kids at the museum

July 1, 2014

By Russ Hemphill, The Wenatchee World, Wash.



July 01--Thanks to a couple of visionary volunteers and lots of enthusiastic supporters, Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center launched its new art space for kids last week.

The remodeled children's art room in Coyote Corner upstairs in the museum is now a bright and cheery area where kids of all ages can develop their creativity by doing hands-on projects.

Community volunteer Sara Rolfs and Jennifer Dolge of the Community Foundation of North Central Washington had come up with the idea for a children's museum a couple of years ago and that led to a partnership with Brenda Abney at the museum and the creation of the art space.

A group of organizations donated $15,000 to remodel the space and then individuals and companies started donating time and materials to make the space one that engages kids.

Here's how Dolge describes the effort:

"We bought kid-friendly tables, chairs, bookshelves, and a small library of art-focused books along with various supplies, conscious that we needed to keep enough money to continue stocking supplies without having to affect the museum's budget."

They hope it generates more family members for the museum and that people will bring their kids to explore art in that space.

"Sara's and my shared vision was simple: create an experiential space for children to explore the world around them, "Dolge said. "Right now, we've done this with the art room. We have plans to continue that vision in the museum in other ways. We could not be more pleased with the museum's willingness and partnership on this, have been overwhelmed by the support, and really hope it is something that the community embraces."

Companies like Beckstead Electric, Inside Design/Carpet One and McDee's Art Center donated materials while the Community Foundation, Icicle Fund, Wenatchee Arts Commission and Northwest Farm Credit stepped up with financial support.

Best of all, a group of kids provided expert advice on how to make the space useful and engaging.

It's another example of how important things get done in our community, with lots of people pitching it to make something important happen.

The museum has its share of financial challenges with the city's budget woes, but this kind of innovative programming ought to draw lots more support from the community and make its financial sustainability more viable.

If you'd like to see my video with Dolge, please log onto wenatcheeworld.com and click on videos.

Reach Russ Hemphill at 509-665-1161 or hemphill@wenatcheeworld.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Worldcityeditor.

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(c)2014 The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.)

Visit The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.) at www.wenatcheeworld.com

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Source: Wenatchee World, The (WA)


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