Although Pam Benjamin is in the 21st season of Sense of Wonder, the school and camp program she founded, owns, and operates, she still makes it sound like a new and exciting experience.
“I love all of it,” she says with calm conviction. “Every year I learn so much. The kids have so much enthusiasm and spontaneity. They bring a fresh perspective to everything.”
She adds, “I truly feel happy helping children feel good about themselves, seeing them learning to understand their talents, and empowering their skills, and learning that they can make a difference in the world.”
This weekend, Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12, 1 to 5 pm, the public is invited to the Sense of Wonder Creations Spring Art Show, an annual party at the Benjamin house on Grove Avenue in Vineyard Haven, which celebrates the creative work of the close to 40 children in the program during the school year.
“I work with children on the idea that their artwork doesn’t have to be perfect,” Ms. Benjamin says, expanding the idea. “They don’t have to be perfect. I’m constantly going over that with them, and stressing how unique each one’s individual expression is.”
The mission of the creative program is lofty, and has broad global and community consciousness-raising aspects that include, “environmental and ethnical diversity…To appreciate the very small wonders as well as the enormous ones and to realize how one person can make a difference.”
And Ms. Benjamin sees to it that it’s not just words. She gives the concept application: “I want each child to know they are unique and their perspective is unique.”
With support from instructor Stephanie Thibert, the children work in all media, making paintings, masks, sculpture, single projects and group projects in clay, papier mache, mixed media, paper, and a variety of pencils and paint.
Sounding calm and thoughtful as she describes the Sense of Wonder program, Ms. Benjamin, who’s been teaching art for close to 40 years, says she’s putting the finishing touches on this weekend’s program. On Sunday, in addition to the art show at 1 pm, there will be a party that begins at 2 pm and continues until 5 pm, with many planned activities: arts and crafts, a musical program, a magic act by Abra Cadabra the Magician, games and refreshments including baked goods provided by Scottish Bakehouse.
The young artists can elect to offer their work for sale. As in past years, half the proceeds are contributed to a worthy cause. Proceeds from the party on Sunday will be donated to the UNICEF fund for feeding hungry children.
Sense of Wonder Creations Spring Art Show is Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12, from 1 to 5 pm. The party to benefit UNICEF, is Sunday, June 12, 2 to 5 pm. 23 Grove Avenue, Vineyard Haven. The Sense of Wonder Summer Camp, which runs weekly programs from July 4 through August 19, is now taking registrations. Learn more at senseofwondercreations.org.