Rochelle artist encourages kids to get wacky at Morrison library program

Jerry Moffitt inspires children's artistic creativity Friday at Odell Public Library in Morrison.

MORRISON – Wacky was the word of the day June 14 at the Odell Public Library in Morrison.

The library played host to Jerry Moffitt’s Do Art Productions, a program designed to incite children’s creativity and love of art. Kids took turns adding fuzzy details to easels at the front of the room. From penguins balancing on one leg to turtles juggling Bob Ross, the goal of the program was to get kids more comfortable with thinking creatively.

Moffitt, an artist and performer, said the goal of the program is to get wacky.

“Our main goal is to try and have an experience with creativity,” Moffitt said. “Instead of trying to show ‘this is how you draw’, we want to have an interaction with them. We want the participants to leave with confidence in the creative process.”

Moffitt filled the room with laughter as he introduced This, That and the Other Thing erasers and told the kids to blame them when things went wrong with their art.

With a stuffed Bob Ross in hand, he took to juggling while riding a unicycle.

All of it aimed at encouraging creativity, Moffitt said.

“Sometimes it’s easy to look at a finished work of art and say ‘This is art,’ but we want to change that and show that it is the process that is art,” he said. “Having fun while you are doing it, the wackiness, the music, the whole experience of art is what we focus on. We really want to aim at bringing confidence to the creative process and what can come out of it. You can make bridges with other people, you can discover things about yourself that you didn’t know you could do or what you have inside.”

Moffitt travels to plenty of places to give his message.

“I just got back from West Virginia. I’m going down to the Florida Keys in September,” Moffitt said. “We go all over and are always constantly expanding, but we really like to keep it local at the smaller locations. I’m from a small town, Rochelle, Illinois, that’s down the way. We’re seeing a lot of kids gaining confidence. They’re recognizing us and sending us artwork.

“They really need this as an alternative to just sports. A lot of time in small towns, it’s football or nobody cares. It’s not necessarily that black and white, but we want an alternative to building confidence, to building discipline, than just sports.”

Every kid at the event got a chance to draw on the easels and on the whiteboards handed out to the crowd. They worked with prompts suggested by the audience, posed as references for their peers and gawked as Moffitt rode the unicycle. By the end of the program, everyone had the opportunity to make something truly unique.

This was not the first time Moffitt had been to Morrison. In January, he helped host an event on comic books and has hosted events in previous years.

“With art classes in small towns going away and large cities no longer having art classes in school, we like to allow that creative side to flourish in communities that don’t have that option all the time,” Moffitt said.

Have a Question about this article?