This Saturday, 23 local artists will descend upon Ascension Solorsano Middle School to bestow their creative genius upon Gilroy’s youth.
In its 19th year offering half a day of all-out, hands-on arts education and workshops to kids ages 5 to 11, the Gilroy Community Service Department looks forward to hosting this weekend’s event, said Cathy Mirelez, cultural arts and museum supervisor for the city.
“City staff met at a round-table discussion 19 years ago when arts were cut from public schools,” she said.Now that the school district is up against cuts again, “we really need to help supplement the art that was taken away from the classroom,” she said.
Although the district hasn’t specifically cut any arts programs, 1.17 full time equivalent positions will be eliminated from middle schools and 0.40 from Gilroy High School.
Kids Discover Arts is a program the city hopes will help counter the school budget crunch and “introduce children to the arts in a nonthreatening, noncompetitive environment,” Mirelez said. “The arts are so important to the development of children.”
The program was conceived as a free event open to all children who want to enjoy a day immersed in the arts.
Myriad activities will be provided, from Japanese origami to Suzuki violin instruction to stamp design.
Kids are advised to show up with an adult and wear “paint-friendly” clothing. The artists are “wonderful people that have been with us for many, many years,” Mirelez added.
A group of younger artists will round out the veteran crowd. Mirelez expects anywhere from 350 to 500 kids to show up, based on past attendance.
The event is made possible by donations from the Gilroy Rotary Club and many local businesses and will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, in the Solorsano gym and multipurpose room at 7121 Grenache Way.