James Wood had never seen as much glitter, as much paint, as many ways to use crayons, as he saw Saturday at the Children's Celebration of the Arts.
The 2 1/2-year-old almost didn't know what to do.
"Everything is so new to him," said his mother, Laurie Wood, 29, who brought James and his 16-month-old brother to Pioneer Park for the event. "We tried eight art projects before he wouldn't touch anything."
But once little James found his niche a booth dedicated to creating art from odds and ends there was no stopping his busy fingers. He proudly pointed out the finer points of his masterpiece: glue, a feather, a string of stars.
"I like it," he said, with a big grin. "I like art."
Hundreds of children, with parents in tow, braved the cold to explore the annual art fair. All seemed equally enamored with creating.
"It's really fun," said Kennedy Johnson, 7, as she waited to get a butterfly stenciled on her cheek at the face-painting booth. "I like it because you get to make something you've never seen before."
There were 50 booths, each with a different activity to try. From origami to paper jewelry to sun catchers, there was something for everyone.
Even Kathryn S. Allen, who was in charge of running the art fair, got caught at a booth.
"I'm having a creative moment a 'Martha' moment, if you will," said Allen, laughing, as she folded paper to make an accordion book. Allen is the community outreach and gallery director for the Covey Center for the Arts and has been involved with the Children's Celebration of the Arts for 26 years.
"I feel it's very important that children are exposed to art," she said. "Kids need to have that creative expression. It gives them a feeling of accomplishment that helps them in other areas of their lives."
Allen said each activity at the fair was designed to encourage artistic thinking.
"It's more art than craft," she said. "Usually there's a little formula the child has to figure out."
Children scribbled their own interpretations of the Mona Lisa, shredded crayons with cheese graters and arranged scraps of paper into mosaics.
Callista Priest, 18, helped children lace yarn through plastic to make bookmarks. She volunteered to help out at the Children's Celebration of the Arts as part of her campaign to become the next Miss Provo. Seven of her running mates manned different booths around Pioneer Park.
"I just wanted to spend some time with the children," said Priest, whose Miss Provo platform focuses on fighting child abuse. "They're kids, they ought to be having fun."
Three-year-old Cole Sanchez certainly had fun at the art fair. He was up to his elbows in clay.
Andrew Watson, a retired high school pottery teacher from Provo, steadied the little boy's hands as he coaxed a lump of clay into a bowl using a pottery wheel.
"He's doing all the work," Watson said, as he helped Sanchez etch a design in the side of the spinning pot. "I'm just guiding him."
Sanchez's mother, Maegan, was impressed with her son's new art skills."It's so cute," she said. "It's just so cute."
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