Art, photography classes at Children's Museum

Museum and Madera County Arts Council combine efforts

-- Jarrod Lyman, Yosemite Sierra Visitors BureauJuly 25, 2012 

The Children's Museum of the Sierra in Oakhurst is teaming up with the Madera County Arts Council to offer photography and art classes, thanks to a Chukchansi Community Grant.

The classes started this week at the museum, and will continue for three more weeks. Children interested in the classes can still attend.

"We're really excited about this opportunity," said Steve Montalto, director of the Children's Museum of the Sierra. "It expands the services we're able to offer the community and helps us appeal to a wider age group of kids as well. This partnership is a great opportunity."

The photography courses are Monday and Wednesdays, while the art courses are Tuesdays and Thursdays.

With cameras in hand, children in the photography course will be introduced to the operation of digital cameras including zoom, wide angle, video, and flash features. Students will learn about composition, point of view, angles, shadows, and how to make use of natural lighting.

Students in the art classes have the opportunity to learn to make simple animal drawings, add texture to a drawing, and paint one of their drawings in watercolor. Children will explore the geometry of animal shapes further in their creation of origami animals.

The photography courses will be instructed by Diana Baldrica, who has a Masters in Art from Fresno State and over 20 years' experience as a photographer for the Fresno Bee. The art courses will be overseen by Sherril Royse who has been working with the Madera County Arts Council for 17 years and is the art education program manager.

"Dianna Baldrica's photography classes have been very popular with the children in Club YES," Royse said. "I've taught versions of this painting and drawing class for many years and the students always gain from the art education opportunities offered. They particularly enjoy the bright colors of the class projects."

"Both of these teachers have a lot of experience teaching their topics and parents shouldn't be surprised when their children talk about how much "fun" they had and don't notice that they've learned some new vocabulary and concepts, practiced some of their math skills, and studied some art and cultural history," said Dr. M J Mossman with the MCAC. "This should turn out to be a great experience for all-child class participants gain new art skills and have fun, some parents who haven't previously known of the work of the Children's Museum or the Madera County Arts Council get acquainted with two dynamic organizations that offer many opportunities to the children of our county, and the staff of these two organizations have an opportunity to collaborate for the first time-win, win, win."

Classes started this week and will run through the week of Aug. 13.

The class schedule is:

Art: Tuesdays and Fridays

Grades 1st - 3rd - 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Grades 4th - 6th - 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Photography: Mondays and Wednesdays

Grades 1st - 5th 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Grades 6th - 8th 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.

If interested, contact the museum at (559) 658-5656 or

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