Dec. 8 2010 12:00 AM

Lansing students get lessons in creating ceramics -- and healthy diets

Reach Studio Art Center specializes in art education in an after school setting for students, says executive director Alice Brinkman.

“The emphasis came from the Greater Lansing Potter Skills, which approached me," she says. "They like to fund projects every year to do with ceramics and kids, and they approached me to give Reach ceramic classes for underserved youth."

The result was a free after-school program for approximately 30 Lansing kids, aged 7 through 12.

"We recently partnered with the Lansing School District and we recruit and do the program with kids in need of free art activities,” Brinkman says. “The initial idea was the ceramic part of it, and our creative connection term for the fall is a 10-week program, so we felt that we’d like to integrate other things with the main thing.

“We wanted to introduce kids to a variety of art, disciplines and integrate that art with the subject matter. We thought if we do functional pottery that would go along very well with nutrition and good eating habits.”

Other activities for the kids included the Garden Project. “We contacted the Greater Lansing Food Bank. They have a garden project and they’ve done nutrition (programs) with youth, so we were connected to them. We made smoothies with the kids using the vegetables and fruits that fit the primary colors for our color wheel.”

Reach’s main purpose through the project has been art education in an after-school setting for students. “We haven’t typically worked with ceramics. Our main function for this part of the project is for kids to learn about clay, to make a functional article out of clay and integrate healthy eating with that. That’s one of the things -- children don’t get enough exposure to (healthy eating) or the encouragement to eat in a healthy way.”

Reach will showcase the students' healthy dishes at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14 and Wednesday, Dec. 15 during potluck dinners with parents. “We just asked (students and parents) to bring something they feel comfortable bringing," Brinkman says.

For more information, call (517) 999-3643 or email