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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
South Tampa News

Metropolitan Ministries kids get chance to work in clay


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SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - The gray clay was "mushy and cold" to 7-year-old Megan.

But the youngster from Metropolitan Ministries, which serves those in need, liked the way it felt as she shaped it into a pinch pot in a recent Healing Arts ceramics program.

Megan was among 21 children from the organization who spent an afternoon recently at The Centre for Girls learning about ceramics and creating a clay pinch pot and a dish, as well as a watercolor painting.

The project, My Very Own, gave the children a chance to "create something that you can be proud of and that is functional," Paula Allen, art program director for The Centre for Girls, told the children who attended.

"Ceramics is like from another art form; you take mud and form it into different shapes," she told the boys and girls.

The Centre for Girls, 105 W. Sligh Ave., closed in March because of funding cuts. But supporters are working on reopening it to girls ages 5 to 14. They have opened it occasionally for special projects to the community and for specific groups.

Several volunteers helped Allen with the My Very Own project on July 18.

Healing Arts is part of the plans for the center, Allen said.

"The healing clay experience is to begin using clay to help at-risk children relax and improve motor skills," she said. "Manipulating clay reduces stress, just like squeezing a stress ball for children."

Angel, 6, liked working with a flattened piece of clay and rolling it into designs. He said the best part was working with the paper bowl that then was used to shape the clay itself into a bowl.

This is the second collaborative project between Metropolitan Ministries and The Centre for Girls. This spring, some youngsters participated in the 500 Girls Mural Project, which celebrates 17 women in Florida History in conjunction with the state's 500th anniversary.

That project will be on display at the Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St., from Sept. 21 to Dec. 2. A public art reception is planned for 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 26.

For information, visit www.thecentre.org.

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