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Kids use art to express themselves as Knoxville Art and Fine Crafts Center reopens

"It makes me feel super good," one student said. "I feel happy," added another.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — "Mix the colors together, and it's really cool," a boy exclaims as he presses a paint-soaked stamp shaped like a flower onto a paper bag. 

 "I'm decorating mine blue and yellow," another student says from across the room. 

During a typical art class, students at the Knoxville Arts and Fine Crafts Center would normally sit together, but since reopening in the midst of the pandemic, Senior Arts Specialist Kelly Sullivan said they've had to make some adjustments. 

"The staff is definitely all wearing masks, and we are trying to keep distance between all of our visitors. So, whether it's adults or children, we are trying to maintain that six feet of social distance. And, we clean, a lot," Sullivan said, adding that even before the pandemic, instructors washed their hands frequently to get the paint off their fingers. 

The Knoxville Arts and Fine Crafts Center tends to host smaller classes of fewer than 12 participants, which is why Sullivan said they got the green light to reopen. 

On Tuesday, students spread out across multiple tables and two rooms to create paper bag stars with stamps and paint while mask-wearing instructors walked around offering assistance.

"I feel happy because you get to make stuff. I love making stuff," one student said. 

"It's an hour and a half each day that you get to take a break. I think it's good for their educational growth because imagination just helps you become a really good problem-solver," Sullivan said. 

While most adult classes are still postponed, upcoming kids camps include Stop-motion, textiles, comic books, and a Shark Week camp. 

"They're going to be making shark-related crafts all week," Sullivan said, adding that the online registration for the Shark Week camp is closed, but they still have a couple of open spots if you call the center at 865-523-1401

The Knoxville Arts and Fine Crafts Center is located at 1127 N. Broadway. 

Credit: WBIR
Students decorate paper bags at Knoxville Arts and Fine Crafts Center.

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