Flourishing Art

Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature. ~Cicero

heartThe intent of our forest atelier is to provide young children with the opportunity to explore and connect with the natural world through art. Using found materials – sticks, stones, mud, sand, pebbles, twigs, leaves, grass – opportunities become endless, and children as artists are given the time, space, and support they need to explore and express their 100 Languages. We believe that the creative lives of young children are often underrepresented in community settings, and we seek to bring attention to the valuable art they imagine and create.

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We are excited to announce our ‘Flourishing Art’ series for children; a compilation of seasonal art events located at the Lake Wilderness Arboretum. ‘Flourishing Art’ consists of four one-day projects throughout the 2016-17 year. Each project will be chosen to reflect the seasons as they are experienced through the senses:

Autumn, November 18th, 2016: We will use the changing colors of fall and the principles of land art to create a distinct pathway in the children’s garden at the Lake Wilderness Arboretum. Photography will be used to capture the art process.

Winter, January 27th, 2017: We will nourish a self-reflective creation by using what children find in nature to build a boat, which will be released in front of the City of Maple Valley’s Parks Department, and videotaped by a drone camera.

Spring, April 28th, 2017: We will use movement in nature to create a collective work of art on an oversized canvas. Alongside parents and caregivers, children will discover how wind, weather, and movement inspire their painting experience. The canvas will be mounted in the Nursery at the Lake Wilderness Arboretum.

Summer, June 9th, 2017: Children will make a sun print using the light of day to create a contrasted image of natural objects that they have foraged for in the forest and gardens. Their works will be captured and printed on cards, which will be available for purchase by the community.

These events provided by funding from a King County Open 4 Culture grant.


Photo Credit: Amber Scardino

Please join us for Flourishing Art’s Summer event! Working together with the sun we will be creating nature inspired sun prints. We will begin by foraging in the forest for objects that we find interesting. Once we have found the perfect object we will place it on photographic paper and watch as the sun helps create our masterpiece. This project will introduce children to the basic concepts of photography while combining science and art in an inherently organic way.

DATE: Friday, June 9th, 2017
TIME: 10:00am-11:00am (an organic snack and herbal tea will be available)
AGES: Ages 0-6, alongside caregiver
NUMBER of CHILDREN: Maximum 10 families
FEE: FREE

Please RSVP to Joann O’Meara to reserve your child’s spot and to help us plan for the event.
We also recommend both parents and children bring outdoor gear and dress for the weather.


canvasSpring is here with its beginnings and blossoms including a new Flourishing Art event!  Parents, caregivers and children, please join us for a day filled with spontaneous creativity! Together we will create an oversized painting inspired and linked with nature. The unstretched and primed canvas will be laid out on the ground giving us the ability to paint with a paintbrush, hands, feet or anything that calls to us. During this time we will discover how to convey ideas, explore color and process while working as a team.

DATE: Friday, April 28th, 2017
TIME: 10:00am-11:30am (an organic snack and herbal tea will be available)
AGES: Ages 0-6, alongside caregiver
NUMBER of CHILDREN: Maximum 10 families
FEE: FREE


boat_waterCome and join us for our winter event of the Flourishing Art series! This will be a fun filled project where children and their caregivers will construct a vessel to set out on a journey along flowing water. Starting at 10:00 am children and parents will sign in followed by a demonstration of objects in nature that float. Together we will learn the concepts of buoyancy and density and work creatively to construct our boat like vessels. This moment will be captured from a Birdseye view and then exhibited locally to bring awareness to the value of children’s art and create a rejuvenating art accessibility in the community of Maple Valley.

DATE: Friday, January 27th, 2016
TIME: 10:00am-11:30am (an organic snack and herbal tea will be available)
AGES: Ages 0-6, alongside caregiver
NUMBER of CHILDREN: Maximum 10 families
FEE: FREE


Photo Credit: Jennifer Lewis

We hope you will join us this November for Flourishing Art’s Autumn Event. Led by a local practicing artist, children will enjoy a fun filled morning where they can harness their creativity and experience nature through ‘art goggle eyes.’ Using sensory play, children will work together to create a piece of semi-permanent land art to be enjoyed by the community. Children will collect and sort materials and familiarize themselves with binding techniques and color selection (caregivers too!)

DATE: Friday, November 18th, 2016
TIME: 11:00am-12:00pm (herbal tea will be available)
AGES: Ages 0-6, alongside caregiver
NUMBER of CHILDREN: Maximum 10 families
FEE: FREE


About Joann O’Meara

joannAs an artist interested in reviewing the overlooked, I find it essential to honor the value in children’s art. It is of utmost importance to me to nurture the artistic side of every young person so that they grow up with the confidence to appreciate and make art throughout childhood and beyond. Since graduating from the National College of Art and Design with a BA in fine art, I have had the pleasure of teaching children from all over the world and am forever inspired by their innate ability to observe, create and invent. My aim in teaching art is to develop an environment for children where they are free to inspire themselves and others around them.