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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

Popular Art in the Park Continues Another Month

The free Art in the Park program, hosted by The Empowerment Factory, will continue at the Fairlawn Veterans Park, in Pawtucket, through this month due its popularity throughout the summer. The in-person program is geared to children in grades 3 to 5 and follows all COVID-19 guidelines for in-person gatherings. This month’s classes include Friendly Fireflies that Light Up, Kindness Rocks and Recycled Art Jewelry.

Each class features mindfulness, literacy, environmental education and creativity components, but the greatest benefit is that it allows children to be outside with their peers in a socially distanced space at a time when there are few opportunities for youth to gather.

Each session is limited to 20 children, split into two pods of 10. As the families arrive, they are screened for COVID-19, temperatures are taken and hands are sanitized. Once they pass the screening, they are each given pre-packaged supplies for the event that includes a blanket that they put on the ground as their safe spot. The children are spaced at least six feet apart on the grass, and they have been very good about staying on their spot and wearing masks if they get up. The Empowerment Factory keeps track of which students are in each pod for contact tracing purposes.

In each session a book is read that relates to the theme of the class. Teachers include Gail Ahlers, who is the executive director of The Empowerment Factory, and Eclipse Nielson, who is an award-winning teacher and author. The children have made jester wands, dream boxes, dragon and nature drawings, butterfly terrariums and recycled robots. Since all the supplies are pre-packaged, it minimizes the handling of materials to also help with COVID-19 protocols. Volunteers help students with their projects, guiding as much as possible with words instead of touching materials. The children walk away from each session with a smile on their face as they learn new things and interact with children from throughout the state in a safe, socially-distanced environment.


Cost: Free. Location: 271 Smithfield Ave., Pawtucket. To sign up for the programs or to learn more about the Empowerment Factory, visit or follow on Facebook and Instagram. For additional information, contact Gail Ahlers at
401-365-1010 or [email protected]