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Story Box at Mann Art Gallery interactive fun for family day

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Kim Orynik reads to a group of children during the Story Box at the Mann Art Gallery on Monday.

The Mann Art Gallery hosted an interactive literacy activity on Monday as the gallery partnered with the Prince Albert Literacy Network to host a Story Box.

Kim Orynik hosted the event and planned it with Lana Wilson of the Mann Art Gallery. Orynik said they thought about doing a Story Box day before the pandemic, and this year they thought they would give it a try.

We thought we had something in the gallery, books that younger kids could read or that we could read with the kids,” she explained. “Because the Prince Albert Literacy Network already has an amazing collection of something called Story Sacks where we make interactive packages to go with a book, so because they already have these interactive story bags, we decided to create a story box.”

Both the Mann and the Literacy Network have a story box that can be loaned to schools or other daycares. Each story box features “The Museum” by Susan Verde, with works by Peter Reynolds.

The book tells the story of a young girl visiting a museum. It is written for children aged three to eight. Orynik reads the story and guides the children through the museum inside the box.

It’s all about how art makes you feel and how we express those feelings,” she said.

It is an interactive method of narrating and reading the story.

Each story reading featured a group of eight children who were able to select replicas of the illustrations from the book and install them on the walls of the story box gallery. Children were encouraged to put them on the walls and create their own displays.

The story box also offers games and activities related to the book. Games can be played immediately afterwards or on another day.

Orynik said no two bands do things the same way, which makes the storybox more accessible.

You can use it and play these games in a way that is appropriate for the age and stage of the kids,” she explained.

An example was the game of roulette where children spin a paintbrush and land on a shape.

They found that form and created a collaborative work of art,” she said.

Before or after the guided reading with Orynik, children and parents were able to explore the Prince Albert Winter Festival art exhibition and sale currently taking place in the gallery. The children received a small activity sheet where they could look at the different works of art to find pieces that made them happy, sad or other emotions. They then drew their own artwork on the activity sheet and returned to the education room to color or paint their sketch.

Orynik said the cold weather, which forced the cancellation of several outdoor Family Day events, helped draw people inside for the activity.

This very cold morning, five families have already arrived and we expect many more people to spend the day as we operate until 3pm,” she said.

Story Boxes weren’t the only activity either. Participants could also complete unfinished canvases by local artist Leslie Emiel.

Sometimes people do collaborative artwork and one of our local artists donated a number of canvases that were started but not finished,” Osyrik said. “The children are now finishing a painting that was started by an artist in town.”

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