Fall is approaching and the kids are back in school…which means that Sharon McRorie and Erin Shope of the Museum’s education department are hosting Storytime & Art programs again at community libraries after a summer break. These popular programs are for preschool and school-age students who can enjoy stories and songs, then make a hands-on art project designed just for the little ones.
At a Storytime & Art program last spring, Sarah Gransee of the Enka-Candler Library said, “Sharon and Erin have been coming once a month for about a year now. They reached out and asked if I wanted a craft [to accompany the library’s story time], and I said, ‘Yes, please!’”
While under construction to build its new facility, the Asheville Art Museum has had the opportunity to reach out further into the community, working with community partners at their locations. The Storytime & Art program has proven to be a great example of how successful that effort has been.
Partnerships help fill needs for all involved as they arise: the Asheville Art Museum was seeking a location to host programming and reach new audiences, and libraries are continually seeking new approaches to learning that they can include in their storytime programs.
“I’m a reluctant crafter, and so my storytimers, especially at the beginning, were very excited to have a craft at all,” Gransee explained. “Erin and Sharon always bring something that I do not let them have–like today it was paint. And so they’re bringing more ambitious projects than what we at the library can handle on our end. [The craft] also underscores the theme, which helps them with memory and cognitive development.”
Gransee said, “The whole idea with the library providing programming is teaching kids to love books and the library. What we try to do during storytime is hit all the skills kids might really like: some kids like singing, some love listening to books. But sometimes I think that the only thing a kid loves and really excels in is the craft. They come for it and they look forward to it. A big part of it is showing parents and kids that there are lots of different ways they can be successful.”