The City Magazine Since 1975

Mini Masters

Mini Masters
August 2010
Wee Little Arts colors local schools with after-hours visual arts classes

The walls at Kay Newman’s house overflow with a masterful collection, and visitors to the family’s art gallery are treated to a bright display of abstract works.

“This one is my favorite,” she beams, pointing at a vibrant canvas swirling with every color from the spectrum. “It’s one of the first pieces our son brought home…. He was three.” You see, this isn’t just any gallery; it’s a Wee Little Arts gallery.

In 1999, elementary art teacher Melissa Bradshaw hit the drawing board after noticing that her pint-sized pupils were arriving at kindergarten without adequate critical thinking and fine motor skills. Her finished creation? Wee Little Arts, a supplemental program to help preschoolers tap their inner artistes while having fun, developing self-confidence, and molding imaginations. And though the program is designed for three to five year olds, the curriculum is anything but basic. During eight-week sessions, elements of art, drawing, painting, and three-dimensional learning fly at participants like paint on a Pollock canvas. From drawing oil pastel portraits to forming clay pots, these mini masters discover a well-rounded comprehension of art and leave class with grins on their faces and arms full of colorful projects.

Recently, Bradshaw has begun outlining plans to expand beyond her current locations (Charleston; Charlottesville, Virginia; and North Central, New Jersey) and into franchises all over the nation. “Since starting Wee Little Arts,” she says, “I have always wanted to share the program with children around the world.” Now that’s what we call creative vision.

—Hannah Rabon

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