ah haa

The Ah Haa School for the Arts is currently looking for teachers. (Courtesy photo)

Despite a hold on kids camps during the pandemic, Ah Haa School for the Arts has continued to “discover, nurture, and celebrate creativity” through their Ah Haa To Go art kits.

Launched in July 2020 in response to the COVID-19 induced closure of the community arts school, the Ah Haa To Go program has sold over 100 art kits. The program paused sales in the spring, but just “re-launched with additional kits,” according to a recent news release.

“Kids benefit from opportunities to explore their own creativity and the transformational experience that provokes,” assistant director Jess Newens said. “During a time when Ah Haa is unable to provide in-person programming, Ah Haa To Go enables kids (and adults) to engage and be inspired on their own or with another person using materials that may not be available to them otherwise.”

There are eight Ah Haa To Go kits to choose from –– Pop Art: Paint with Acrylics, Explore Embroidery, Rope Coil Basketry, Build a Ukulele, Basic Bound Book, Sculpt a Zoo, Secret Succulent Planters and Art for Littles. Kits are for people of all ages, and can be found on the Ah Haa website, ahhaa.org.

Ah Haa recently added the “Art For Littles” kit, for kids ages 4-8, that contains materials to create bubble wands, stamps, sculptures and paintings. This kit is designed for “parents and babysitters looking to interest and occupy young kids,” Newens said in the news release. “Each kit contains supplies and step-by-step instructions to complete specific projects; some even include links to instructional videos. Choose from a number of age-appropriate kits, from painting to bookmaking to embroidery.”

The Ah Haa To Go art kits range from $10 to $25, with the exception of the $100 ukulele kit. The ukulele kit includes one tutorial video, one ukulele kit, three acrylic paint colors that the artist chooses upon purchase, paintbrushes, popsicle sticks, wood glue and rubber bands, according to the website.

All art kits can be ordered online and either mailed or picked up in person at the school’s American Academy of Bookbinding building on North Willow Street.

“The point of Ah Haa To Go is to engage people at a low price point with self-guided projects,” Newens said.

Throughout the pandemic, Ah Haa also provided online cooking classes curated by local chef Bud Thomas; writing classes led by local authors Craig Childs, Amy Irvine and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer; and art courses.

After over two years of construction and being temporarily housed in bookbinding academy building, the Ah Haa School for the Arts staff are finally able to move into their new facility in the Silver Jack Building on Pacific Avenue at the end of July. The Ah Haa staff will take a few weeks to set up their new studios and classrooms and prepare for the public opening, which is still to be determined.

The additional square footage will allow for existing and expanded programming. The new space includes a teaching kitchen, which allows the school to design a new culinary arts program, and a gallery space, enabling “generative programming” associated with the featured artist.

Ah Haa is launching their 29th Annual Art Auction on July 16, which will take place online until Aug. 7, with the goal of raising $200,00. The money raised will directly allow Ah Haa to resume “(nourishing) the creative spirit through classes, workshops, programs and events for people of all ages in our community,” according to the website.

The school is also hiring, as a call for candidates was posted on social media recently.

“Interested in teaching art to youth? Ah Haa School for the Arts is searching for qualified, experienced instructors who can teach a variety of art media, such as painting, mixed media, ceramics, digital photography, and culinary arts. This is contract work; after-school class instructors are especially needed. Previous art teaching is a must. Housing is not provided, sorry. Please email your resume to jess@ahhaa.org. No phone calls, please,” the Facebook post read.

For more information, visit ahhaa.org.