Kids paint to the sound of music

Program teaches different forms of expression

Ryder Kirtley may only be 7, but he had great confidence in the art work he created as part of the first Art Drum Film project at the Lincoln Community Center.

Ryder, a first-grader, stood proudly next to a wooden easel displaying his painting, done to the sound of musical instruments played by other children.

“I can draw this whole entire world if I have to,” Kirtley said, adding he thought his art had improved immensely from his kindergarten efforts featuring stick people.

The work was the result of a collaborative effort involving the center, local musician Paul Shuler and artists Harry and Suzy Ally. They worked six weeks with eight children to explore painting and music and to create a five-minute film depicting the experience.

The film was shown and artwork displayed during an Oct. 8 exhibition.

Lincoln Center leaders and the artists developed the program after visiting the Manchester Bidwell Complex in Pittsburgh and learning about its community arts programs.

The trip was coordinated by the Troy Community Works organization and funded by the Oswald Family Foundation.

Harry Ally, an artist formerly with Piqua’s Edison Community College, said he and his wife recently returned to the area following retirement. The project, he said, was something Suzy Ally wanted to pursue.

“The idea was to get each (child) to express themselves,” Harry Ally said. “The kids were incredible … . What a blast.”

Suzy Ally said she met Lincoln Center representatives Shane Carter and Sonia Holycross on the trip to Pittsburgh. They brought in musician Shuler to integrate music with the art.

During the program, the children were introduced to the art of the late Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, who believed that color, shape and brush strokes could be used to express visually music’s loudness, softness and rhythm.

In sessions, some of the participants would experiment with different international musical instruments, such as drums, as the others painted in abstract in response to the sounds from the instruments.

Another participant, Donovan Azbil, 12, said he thought the program was good “because we got to express (through) our paintings.” Other children in the program were Alyssa Hudgins, Ahnalise Ellis, Alasiah Hale, Nate Davenport, Josh Johnson and Madison Harkins.

The program founders said they hope to create “a special space” for an art drum project to give other children the opportunity to experiment freely with art and music.