A group of local kids listened intently as Valerie Jonutz demonstrated how to piece together colorful bits of paper and stickers to create a homemade valentine. The festive Art in the Park workshop took place on Friday and over the weekend at Ocean View Park.
The participants got to enjoy the beautiful coastal weather with a day at the park where Jonutz had prepared dozens of valentine kits for the kids, ranging from space-themed valentines to traditional red and pink hearts. Kids were also able to make little purses with heart stickers out of paper plates stapled together.
Jonutz has been living on the coast for eight years and has been a nanny for 10. She’s been working with kids for even longer and was recently inspired to start the Art in the Park workshops.
“I loved being playful, creative and imaginative with children all day, and I always appreciated the way kids naturally live in the moment and don't seem to take life too seriously,” said Jonutz. “That’s something most of us tend to grow out of at some point. I also had so much fun doing arts and crafts projects with the kids nearly every single day, and watching them blossom into talented artists.”
Working with children and creating artwork has always been a passion for Jonutz, so for her it made sense to combine them and offer arts and crafts workshops for kids in the community.
Tami Wall heard about Jonutz’s art classes from other moms in the community. When she heard that she was hosting workshops, she signed up her 10-year-old daughter.
“My daughter has loved art and anything crafty since she was very young, so this is a perfect fit for her,” said Wall. “She also enjoys meeting other kids, and is having fun chatting it up and getting to know the other students as she works on the art projects.”
Wall said since they recently moved to Half Moon Bay, this has been a good opportunity for her daughter to meet other kids in the area.
“I like that kids can put as much or as little energy and imagination into their own piece,” said Wall. “It's a good fit for experienced young artists or more novice kiddos looking to have some fun with arts and crafts.
“Val seems to be a very caring, relaxed, and attentive teacher,” she said. “It is clear that she really cares about kids and cares about their well-being, beyond just the art instruction.”
Jonutz said that each workshop will be a little bit different and that each session the kids will have opportunities to try different techniques and use varied media.
“Younger kids who can't complete projects on their own will naturally absorb a lot of information simply by creating artwork with their parents,” said Jonutz. “Some of the projects will even appeal to older kids and teens, such as making dream catchers, mixed media collages, step- by-step paintings, and nightlights using tissue paper and pressed flowers. The project themes will often coordinate with upcoming holidays, which should be a lot of fun as well.”
After the success of the first workshop, Jonutz hopes to make it a monthly thing at various locations up and down the coast.
“There seems to be a lot of interest, as art classes are not being offered as much as they used to in public schools, and more and more kids are transitioning to home school these days,” said Jonutz. “Aside from all that, arts and craft projects are just enjoyable, inspiring and relaxing, all things our children can greatly benefit from after an unusual couple of years.”
Jonutz will be holding two more valentine-making workshops from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Ocean View Park, 627 Alsace Lorraine Ave. The workshop is $20 per child.
For more information about the workshops or to get in touch with Jonutz, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.