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Art in the park on Family Fridays

The summer rain and overcast skies on Friday morning didn’t stop children from getting creative at the Family Friday program held at Bennett’s Creek Park.

About 80 parents and children met at the canopied park tables for free arts and crafts activities arranged by Suffolk Public Library employees.

“We thought it’d be a nice thing to do on a gloomy day,” said Yvonne Harris as her granddaughters Harper, 7, Breeya, 5, and Halle, 4, grabbed scissors and dabbed paint brushes.

Library staff brought boxes of art supplies and assisted the young artists. The smell of paint and glue was thick as the kids used their pencils, crayons, yarns and paint bottles that came in a rainbow of colors.

Some of the kids made rainbows of their own and traced their hands with colored pencils, cut out masks and glued together picture frames with Popsicle sticks.

“They’re creative, and they just go for it,” said library employee Deborah Ward.

Jaida James, 10, got creative with color choices for her rainbows, finger puppets and other artsy creations.

“I can make a lot of stuff and not have to bug my mom for supplies,” Jaida said.

Her mother, Melanie James, explained that she’s been keeping an eye on what the library has to offer this summer.

“It’s definitely great for the kids that aren’t in summer camps,” she said.

Janaye Jordan and her sons Micah, 7, and Ira, 3, came from Portsmouth to draw faces colored with orange, yellow and red. She found out about the activity through the Hampton Roads calendar on MyActiveChild.com.

“I think it’s great,” she said as Ira dabbed his fingers in purple and green. “It’s free, and it keeps them busy.”

Harris always brings her grandkids to the library’s activities when they visit from out of town, she said. Harper was busy with her picture frame. She used bright pink paint for a sky of her favorite color.

“I’m using my imagination,” she said wearing her purple, feathered domino mask.

Family Friday programs will be held throughout the summer at city parks and Suffolk Public Library locations. The June 29 programs will include a bubble party at Lake Meade Park, 201 Holly Lawn Parkway, and a field day at North Suffolk Library, 2000 Bennetts Creek Park Road. Both will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

These upcoming programs offer outdoor experiences and will also include activities from community partners, Ward said.

“The kids get to see us in a different environment and get to do different and exciting things because of that,” she said.

Visit suffolkpubliclibrary.com or facebook.com/SuffolkPublicLibrary for more information.