Youth arts area at festival stirs young imaginations

Max Cragin shows his board game.


BG Independent News


The juried artists selling their crafts at the Black Swamp Arts Festival Saturday likely had no idea what they were missing by not incorporating plastic spoons, duct tape and pipe cleaners into their artwork.

“I’m making a super hero board game,” said Max Cragin, 11, of Bowling Green. His game, called “Wonder Woman Island,” looked a bit like the colorful winding path of Candy Land – but with more treacherous pitfalls along the way.

Some of the perils along the pathway included “Get blown up and die,” or “Get clawed” at the black panther cave, or “Get zapped” by lightening.

The Kiwanis Youth Arts Village at the Black Swamp Arts Festival again let the imaginations of children run wild. Using empty toilet paper rolls, buttons and beads, they became artists in residence.

Kids make all types of creations.

While the other end of the Black Swamp Arts Festival featured accomplished artists, the northern most block of the festival let unjuried artists do their own things.

To be honest, some weren’t exactly sure what they were creating.

“I’m making, hmmmm, I don’t know. Something cool, I probably will like,” said Lily Wilson, 8, from Oak Harbor. She and her sisters, Zoe, 6, were taking pieces of cardboard and duct tape and constructing buildings.

Others were more certain in their handiwork.

“I’m making a toy sword and a back scratcher,” McKenna Seman, Bowling Green, said as she proudly displayed her work. She huddled over a table of treasures with Hope Seman, Madison Cowan and Bella Karlovec as they turned popsicle sticks, beads and foam shapes into all types of creations that older minds might have difficulty envisioning.

Some knew this was just the beginning of their artistic careers.

Berkeley Clay creates artwork.

Like Berkeley Clay, 5, who was putting the finishing touches on her hand drawn purple diamond, complete with “little pointy things.”

“I’m going to bring it home to give it to my friend,” said Berkeley, from Ottoville.

“I’m going to be an artist when I grow up,” she said. “Artists get to draw new things.”

Further down the block, kids in plastic hardhats were combining art and construction. With the help of construction management students from Bowling Green State University, the kids were turning blocks of wood into cars, houses, airplanes and people.

Construction art area

“We’re trying to make the best creations we can,” said Andrew Morris, a BGSU student who was helping a little boy make a car. Amidst the hammering and drilling, Morris was searching for the necessary four wheels. “They are a hot commodity, but we have them.”

The always popular work stations for tie-dye shirts and floppy paper hats were also offered. And newer stations were added for making mobiles and robots.

By mid-afternoon, Allison Mills, of Bowling Green, had a couple tired out young artists in her stroller. “Every year we come to the kids place,” she said. “You have to do the hats for sure.”

“Everyone just loves it,” said Heidi Reger, who helped organize the annual youth arts area with her husband, Matt.

The feeling is mutual for the kids, the parents and the nearly 400 volunteers.

“A friend of mine is volunteering and he said he is having as much fun as the kids,” Reger said.

The youth arts area will be open again Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the North Main Street blocks near the Wood County District Public Library.