4-H Blends Art, Healthy Living Interests

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A bee lands on a blooming coneflower, and a young person zooms in carefully. Click goes the camera, capturing the moment.

In July 2021 two 4-H programs – a photography workshop and an “Art Outside” summer program – blended art and healthy living, engaging youth for fun and learning.

Volunteer Steve West, who is a retired art teacher in Caldwell County, facilitated the 4-H photography workshop held at Broyhill Walking Park. Some of his advice to the young photographers in attendance was, “Keep it simple. Focus on your subject.”

Steve West (left) speaks with Caleb and Tiffany Schwartz during a recent 4-H photography workshop at Broyhill Walking Park.

Steve West (left) speaks with Caleb and Tiffany Schwartz during a recent 4-H photography workshop at Broyhill Walking Park.

Youth practiced simplifying their pictures by watching for distracting backgrounds and using other techniques during the workshop. Staying active outdoors and a hobby such as photography pair well together, because nature offers many outdoor recreation options and often inspires works of art.

Other pointers from West during the workshop included practicing the rule of thirds or arranging the subject of a photograph a little off center, and he said the best time to take pictures is early morning or late afternoon. Photographers call this “the golden hour” because of the soft lighting.

All local youth photographers are invited to submit photos in the youth department’s contest at the Caldwell Agriculture Fair in September. Mounts for printed photos to be entered at the fair will be available at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center soon for youth photographers to use free of charge.

Using sticks and string to make a small loom, Zoe Woods (right) and Sierra Wood (left) weave thick yarn through their warp during Art Outside in July.

Using sticks and string to make a small loom, Zoe Woods (right) and Sierra Wood (left) weave thick yarn through their warp during Art Outside in July.

Contact Sarah Kocher at sarah_kocher@ncsu.edu or call 828-757-1258 for more information about youth exhibiting at the Caldwell Agriculture Fair. Community members may also visit go.ncsu.edu/fair-2021 for more details.

The other program, named Art Outside, aimed to help youth explore nature through art. It was a joint effort by 4-H and the Caldwell Arts Council. Projects included papermaking, experimenting with natural dyes, clay imprints, dying mud cloths, weaving, and more.

Junior leader Emma Combs assists Rylie Bryant with her dyed cloth during Art Outside in July.

Junior leader Emma Combs assists Rylie Bryant with her dyed cloth during Art Outside in July.

Youth participating in the short-term program met three times in July at the Hudson Uptown Building to work together on art projects and to socialize and play.

Youth may also enter arts and crafts projects, like ones made at Art Outside, at the local fair.

Caldwell County 4-H is a member agency of United Way, and it enthusiastically supports its partnerships. Learn more about Caldwell County 4-H programs online at caldwell.ces.ncsu.edu.

Sarah Kocher is the 4-H Youth Development Agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension of Caldwell County. The N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center, 120 Hospital Ave. NE #1 in Lenoir, provides access to resources of NC State University and N.C. A&T State University through educational programs and publications.