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Day of fun for disadvantaged

North county youngsters from Illumination Foundation and KidWorks learn a bit about money and then dive into art projects.

August 08, 2013|By Bryce Alderton
  • Artist Gerald Schwartz takes the helm as he spins the big printing press wheel with the help from kids who participated in the Wells Fargo "Make Kids Masters of Finance and Arts" event at the Festival of Arts grounds Tuesday. More than 60 kids from Santa Ana, Stanton and Anaheim learned how to make glasses with colorful pipe cleaners and create images using a printing press.
Artist Gerald Schwartz takes the helm as he spins the big… (Don Leach, Coastline…)

Children from north Orange County spent much of their Tuesday morning squeezing clay and bending pipe cleaners to form pairs of glasses — and also learned a few tidbits of financial know-how.

About 60 underprivileged kids from Santa Ana, Stanton and Anaheim assembled at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach for a combination of art activities and a lecture on money from sponsor Wells Fargo.

Fifty children from the Illumination Foundation and 10 from KidWorks first listened to Mavel Becerra, Wells Fargo's financial educator, talk about the difference between "wants" and "needs" and the importance of saving.

Kids drew inside a picture of a safe what they would like to save.

Clara Oyolo, 8, drew a chicken, pear and water bottle.

"It's good food," Oyolo said.

Festival artists Stephanie Cunningham and Betty Haight then told the children what it's like being an artist.

Haight used oils on a canvas to paint festival marketing director Sharbie Higuchi, who stood still nearby.

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"We work together," said Cunningham, who taught art at Orange High School for 34 years. "Betty paints figures [Cunningham paints landscapes] and we place two canvases alongside one another to create a duet. If you paint from your heart and what you feel, it's very rewarding."

The kids dispersed to different stations, which included separate jewelry and printmaking areas.

Sherri McEuen, bronze sculpture exhibitor at the festival, oversaw students working with soft clay.

They sat in chairs along rectangular tables, a variety of clay colors before them.

"I asked them to choose their favorite color and make small characters, such as flowers," McEuen said. "That's to get them started and help them figure out what to make."

McEuen noted 7-year-old Andrew Cervantes, who rolled a piece of green clay into an elongated tube.

"I wanted to make a snake just for fun," Cervantes said of his creation, which included tiny bright orange strips representing the stripes on the snake.

The 50 children from Illumination Foundation, founded in 2007 to provide immediate care and relief for the county's homeless, are in the middle of a weeklong camp involving visits to places throughout Orange County.

Wednesday they visited the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana.

The festival provided a place where the children, some of whom live in motels, could use art to express themselves, said Rose Wolfrum, Illumination Foundation child family advocate.

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