Just as much fun as physical pursuits in the summer is letting the mind run wild—opening a studio door and encouraging little hands to get dirty with clay or paint. Places for young artists to create and experiment abound in our area. From structured arts and crafts experiences to self-led explorations and open studio time, these centers of creativity are a perfect complement to the hustle and bustle of sun-filled days.
Left to right: Kids art projects help decorate Sawtooth Botanical Children's garden; Face painting is always a hit; The Center's Creatures exhibit.
Get Your Hands Dirty
Build a backyard victory garden. Or borrow somebody else's by taking a stroll through the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, located just south of Ketchum. Daily camps and special programs for children ages 2 and up delight with activities geared toward building an understanding of our region’s ecology through exploration. In the “Discovery Corner,” staff lead age-appropriate activities—from capturing critters and hunting for alternative habitats to grabbing a net to find what’s on top of, and below, the surface of the Garden’s pond. Sawtooth Botanical Garden, 111 Gimlet Road, Ketchum; 208.726.9358, sbgarden.org.
Artworks for the Home
What could be better than creating your own personalized plates, mugs and bowls? Ceramics studios and classes offer a way for budding artists of all ages to create usable art for the table or home. Options include Local Color, a bright and airy pottery space across from the Ketchum Post Office, and Boulder Mountain Clayworks, a non-profit ceramic studio which is tucked away in Ketchum’s light industrial district. At Local Color, an array of clay shapes, paint colors, brushes and sponges serve as raw materials for youngsters who turn everything from mugs, bowls and platters to the more exotic dinosaurs, skateboards or butterfly boxes into works of art. Boulder Mountain Clayworks offers popular one-day-a-week classes and weekly camps for budding clay artists. Clay throwing classes for teens are held on select afternoons and family classes allow parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to create alongside children. This summer’s “handbuilding” series is outer-space themed for artists ages 6 to 10 to craft all things futuristic out of clay. Boulder Mountain Clayworks, 471 East 10th Street #B6, Ketchum; 208.726.0773, bouldermtnclay.com. Local Color, 160 4th Street West, Ketchum; 208.726.2788.
Bejewelled and Bedazzled
Head to local independent bookseller Iconoclast to browse their selection of kids crafts packets—everything from making paper flowers and bottle cap necklaces to headbands and friendship bracelets. And if you want more direction, book a class at the The Bead Shop "Plus" in Hailey, which boasts more than 2,000 square feet of retail and studio space for artists both young and old, and features a stunning array of gemstones and jewelry-making material used to create everything from bookmarks to hairpins, and zipper pulls to fishing lines. Iconoclast, 671 Sun Valley Road, Ketchum; 208.726.1564, iconoclastbooks.com. The Bead Shop, 7 East Bullion Street, Hailey; 208.788.6770.
Artists in Training
Have a young artist who is undecided? Head over to Petite Picasso, a charming space completely for and about kids that is abuzz with activity in the summer. This summer’s three-day art sessions will include baking, Native American art, Japanese art, woodworking, and '80’s fashion and music (do we really have to relive it?). With its fenced backyard and garden, this spot is a locals’ favorite for kids’ birthday parties, tea parties and other special occasions (where staffers will work with you to create themed events with all the trimmings). Petite Picasso, 460 East First Street, Ketchum; 208.720.1572, ketchumkidsart.com.
Create a special night out filled with visual arts and exhibits at one of the monthly Gallery Walks hosted by the Sun Valley Gallery Association. Free to the public and with many of the internationally-recognized artists in attendance, these exhibition openings offer a great opportunity to explore the arts with young minds. Want a more hands-on approach? Call the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. “The Center,” as it is known, presents ongoing exhibits and special events. Every exhibition features an area where children can create art thematically connected to the current exhibit. This summer’s visual art display centers on camping and includes an outdoor installation (on the Sun Valley Center lot located across from the Ketchum Post Office). Sun Valley Gallery Association, svgalleries.org. Sun Valley Center for the Arts, 191 Fifth Street East, Ketchum; 208.726.9491, sunvalleycenter.org.