Put away the crayons, pick a palette and learn how art can empower an individual as well as a community. That is what artist LeAnne Henry Wright has planned for her students.
Wright gives private lessons to 10 children ages 4 to 10. The lessons are broken up into two classes of 4 to 6-year-olds and 7 to 10-year-olds that meet for an hour once a week. Wright keeps the class size small, five in each class, which allows for a more personal lesson, she said.
“Kids are capable of learning anything you have the patience to teach them,” Wright said. “I’m teaching them straight technique of what I’m doing right now.”
During the month-long classes, her students will collaborate on one painting and will have a show at the end of the month. This month the show will be at Sips Kafe at 6 p.m. Oct. 28. The show is open to the public and the artwork will be on display for a week.
“The whole four weeks they’re thinking about their show. It will be a formal exhibit and they’ll get to dress up and invite their family and it will be the real deal,” Wright said.
Every month the proceeds from the students’ art will go toward a local non-profit group. This month the money will be donated to Cargo Ranch, a faith-based organization that helps at-risk youth.
Donating the money will complete the lesson of empowerment through art for the students, Wright said.
“They’re young and you get to show them ... that something they can do right now can make such a dramatic effect and benefit to their community. It’s powerful and I don’t think you can put a price on that,” she said.
Wright is a Shawnee transplant and once taught art to kindergarten through eighth-grade students at a private school.
This is her first time giving private lessons.
“Sometimes public schools don’t have the funding and ... art class ends up being just a piece of copy paper and a number two pencil and that’s it,” Wright said. “Doing the lessons helps my brain relax in between doing my own work,”
Wright previously worked in New York and has her own art show at Medium Studio and Gallery in Oklahoma City next month.
She plans to expand her studio and class space at 116 N. Broadway into a gallery and help expand the art scene in Shawnee.
Parents can enroll their children and pay online at www.paintwithleanne.com.