(Posted November 28, 2011)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College Museum of Art will host a community outreach event open to children between the ages of five and 12. Focusing on both learning and doing, the event features a guest artist to engage children in the production and understanding of art. The event will be held at the museum from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on, Saturday, Dec. 3.

Rebecca Strzelec, assistant professor of art at Penn State Altoona, will be the featured artist in the event. Strzelec's art is abstract and fun to create, says Jennifer Streb, professor of art. Under Streb's guidance, two Juniata College museum studies students also will facilitate the event.

Rebecca Strzelec, assistant professor of art at Penn State Altoona, will be the featured artist in the event.

Participants will be grouped by age: 5- to 8-year-olds, and 9- to 12-year-olds. The younger group will use model clay, wax, stickers, and beads to create an abstract self-portrait.

The older kids will do the same activity, but the student facilitators will take more time to explain Strzelec's process of art production, which is computer-aided prototyping.

The student facilitators will also deliver a gallery talk that is interactive with Strzelec's pieces. The children then have 30 to 45 minutes to create their own art. Then, the children are invited to talk about the objects they made.

"Hopefully being able to say I've helped build an outreach program will allow me to get intensive museum experience," says Sarah Pilchman, a senior from Long Beach, Calif., studying art and museum studies. Elyse Williams, a junior from Allentown, Pa., agrees, "This event allows me to gain experience working with children in a museum setting. It also helps me to understand how to develop programs for children to help them understand a particular exhibit."

Rebecca Strzelec first designs her art on the computer, and then uses rapid prototyping machines to turn her digital drafts into physical objects. "Her art is a really interesting merging of art and technology," says Streb. Most of Strzelec's art are abstract self-portraits. Streb believes the abstraction will help the kids connect with their creative side.

For registration forms and information about the Art Museum Program, please call (814) 641-3657 or email streb@juniata.edu. The program is free, but space is limited. Send registration and release forms to Jennifer Streb, Good Hall Juniata College, 1700 Moore Street, Huntingdon, Pa 16652. The registration deadline is Nov. 29.

The Juniata College Museum of Art, in partnership with Juniata's Art department faculty and students, has held art outreach events for the past four years. Attendance has been consistently high with enough registered attendees to create a waitlist this year, according to Streb.

By Ellen Santa Maria

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.