Local library programs invite teens to express creativity

An exhibit in the gallery of the Sunrise Library highlights not just the talent of local teens but also the variety of programs offered to teens at local libraries.

The "Art in Action: Spring Break Teen Camp Art Exhibition," scheduled to be on display through Friday, features work completed at teen art camps at the Sunrise Library, 5400 Harris Ave., and Whitney Library, 5175 E. Tropicana Ave.

"It went really well," said Dikka Rian, the instructor for the Sunrise Library sections. "My only complaint is that I wish we’d had more teens take advantage of the program. It would have been nice to have a few more people there."

Rian said that for many of the students, it was the only opportunity to take an art class.

"One of the students told me she wanted to take art in middle school, but they didn’t have it," Rian said. "Several of the middle and high schools in this area have dropped art from their curriculum."

Rian spent three days teaching kids from nearby high schools and middle schools subjects such as Chinese painting with pen ink and watercolor, printmaking and creating folded paper reliefs based on fractals in nature.

"It was a different kind of teaching for me," said Rian, who teaches art at Hickey Elementary School, 2450 N. Hollywood Blvd. "I’ve heard people say that the only difference between teaching kids and teaching adults is the size of the chairs. I thought the teens might be a little more sophisticated. They seemed a little shy, but I guess that’s the nature of adolescence. They must have enjoyed it. They all came for all the sessions."

The other element Rian had to adjust was the pace of the lessons.

"Everything had to be done in one day, so it was an interesting challenge," she said.

The spring break art programs were offered at five sites across the valley, including the Whitney Library, where teens learned bookmaking, comic strip creations and puppet construction from instructor Stacy Rice.

The program was funded in part by a grant from the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Rian said she felt the program was a success, and she believes the library district will offer the program again next spring break and perhaps even expand it.

Shana Harrington, children’s services department head at the Sunrise Library, said Las Vegas Valley libraries offer a wide variety of programs for teens throughout the year, including some particularly exciting ones in the summer.

"We’re going to wrap up our summer reading program on July 31," she said. "It started in June, but it’s not too late to sign up."

The program has readers from tots to teens logging their reading habits for prizes.

"They can sign up for the program at the library with the help of a librarian or on one of the library’s public computers," Harrington said. "They just need a library card, or they can sign up with a parent’s card."

Other teen programs at the Sunrise Library include volunteering opportunities and a teen advisory group. Events include a tournament featuring the competitive card game Yu-Gi-Oh! scheduled from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. July 28.

Teen arts events still to come at the Whitney Library include a paper craft class from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, an artist’s studio session from 3 to 4:30 p.m. July 20 and a teen vampire sock puppet and pizza party from 3 to 4:30 p.m. July 27.

For more information, visit or call the Whitney Library at 507-4010 or the Sunrise Library at 507-3900.

Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at or 380-4532.

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