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Fine Arts Institute offers after-school classes



School is back in session, and summer seems to be slipping away as fast as it came. But after-school art classes at the Fine Arts Institute are sure to keep kids' attention. From painting and pottery to theater and choir, the institute offers various programs to spark children's creativity and help them flourish.

For nearly 25 years, Fine Arts Institute, 27 E. Edwards in Edmond, has offered classes specifically for kids after school. 

The foundation began in 1985 when three mothers decided their children were not receiving enough exposure to visual arts at school. To solve this problem, they started teaching art classes in a church classroom. The moms kept art supplies in the trunks of their cars and managed enrollment via home answering machines, but together, they snagged 90 students in the first year.

These days, the institute has since grown into a nonprofit organization that serves the entire metro community. More than 3,000 students enrolled in classes last year, and executive director Mitzi Hancuff said she hopes the organization will gain even more students this year. She joined the institute 21 years ago and has worked to grow and expand its educational mission.

"I felt like this was an organization worth saving and worth growing," she said.

Hancuff said children who involve themselves in art often have better grades and become enriched adults. Institute instructors teach several different art forms, and children are also encouraged to challenge themselves on the stage, or even practicing the relaxing art of yoga.

"Families are recognizing how important art is in their children's lives," she said.

Prior art experience is completely unnecessary, and classes are available for children of all ages, including teenagers and adults. The institute has several classes with different subjects and daily start times. For information on specific classes, call 340-4481.

"Paige Lawler        

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