Old Town Artisan Studio to Host Clay Camps in Thermal and Mecca

KARLA MARTINEZ AND AMBER AMAYA/Coachella Uninc

Coachella — Eastern Coachella Valley residents can expect to see a lot more of Hearts for Art’s bright red van. The mobile art program, run by the Old Town Artisan Studio, is putting on two weeklong clay camps in Mecca and Thermal during the month of August.

“We are going to teach [students] how to make sculptures and how to work on the wheel. We are also going to teach them how to glaze with low fires and high fires,” Triny Rios, an art instructor for Hearts for Arts, said. “The whole experience that you would get at the studio, they’re going to get it at the camp.”

Hearts for Art is partnering with the Desert Alliance for Community Empowerment to host one of the clay camps at the DACE facility in Thermal. This camp is open to students, ages 6 to 12, and will take place August 11-15.

The mobile art program also received a grant from Building Healthy Communities to put on a clay camp at the Boys & Girls Club in Mecca. This camp is specifically reserved for students at the Mecca location.

Rios is excited to bring the clay camps to students in the Eastern Coachella Valley. Working with clay, she said, teaches students their hands are powerful tools that can be used to for creating.

“If you look here to the Eastern Coachella Valley, you see a lot of agriculture. A lot of the parents are picking grapes, or working with their hands, and they’re working with the earth,” Rios said. “The way I see it, [working with clay is] a way to show kids you can work with your hands, but your hands aren’t just for work, they’re for creating. We are working with clay, specifically, because you’re coming back to the earth so it’s kind of this organic circle.”

Hearts for Art put on clay classes last year at the Raices office in Coachella, funded by another grant from Building Healthy Communities, but that was before the art program had their signature red van. Rios said the program would rent a U-Haul or pack everything into a car in order to teach classes in the East Valley. Thanks to a fundraiser at the beginning of 2014, the Old Town Artisan Studio was able to purchase the red van, and now the program is able to easily bring art to the East Valley.

The Old Town Artisan Studio also offers classes throughout the year at its studio in La Quinta. On Saturdays, the studio offers free classes — the free classes are set to start up again in September.

Visit the Old Town Artisan Studio’s website to view their class calendar, www.oldtownartisanstudio.org. Email info@otartisan.com or call 760-777-1444 to find out when the Hearts for Art red van will be in the Eastern Coachella Valley again.

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