The Doodlebugs are back!

Some of Jenny Altman’s original Doodlebug you recognize them now?

Some of Jenny Altman’s original Doodlebug students…do you recognize them now?

Jenny Altman is bringing back her popular
afterschool art program for children in Darlington

By Jana E. Pye, Editor,

Jenny Altman, owner of Artbug Studios of Darlington, is half savvy business entrepreneur and half fairy godmother of art. “My greatest joy is teaching people the skills they need to become artists,” says Jenny. “And I’m so excited to find a new batch of Doodlebugs to teach!”

As the owner of two smaller businesses under the Artbug Studios, Doodlebugs Children’s Art Program and Vino’s Palette evening classes for adults, Altman herself is an artist. But, it took many years for her to realize this, and one art class at the College of Charleston paved the way to the profession that she loves.

Jenny Altman

Jenny Altman

“I really do love what I do,” says Altman. ”I think it is extremely important to find your passion and to follow that. I think for a lot of people it’s because of their hobby, they think that cannot be a career. I made a deal with myself that I didn’t have to do anything for more than five years. It was really the truth. Because I could not figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I had a lot of passions, a lot of interests, and I still do. And that is why this is so great for me because I am so business minded, but still doing what I love.”

The first Doodlebugs Studio was on Exchange Street, and later moved to Birds of Feather on Siskron Street. When her first students outgrew the afterschool program, Altman began working on the Vino’s Palette more and taught classes at Art Trail Gallery in Florence, Black Creek Arts Council in Hartsville, and other classes in Marion, and Cheraw. She now teaches at the Darlington Country Club and has narrowed her focus to closer to home now that she has a small child. Inspired by the love her daughter has being around her mother’s studio, Altman will introduce toddler and “Mommy and Me” classes in the near future.

Her enthusiasm of bringing back Doodlebugs has been exciting for her, and allowed her to reflect on why she enjoys it so much.

“My whole life I identified as an artist but didn’t feel like I could do it as a child,” she recalls. “Because I couldn’t just draw it out of my head without looking at it, I felt I wasn’t a real artist. I didn’t accept that I was a real artist until I went to college and took the risk of taking a class and it became clear to me that art is a skill that is learned, just like math. Just like anything else. You learn dimension, you learn how to draw, you learn how to use colors and some people- very few, but there are some that just miraculously born with it- as a gift from God. But for the rest of us who maybe don’t have that, who have to learn to work at it, be it self-taught or from school or however you learn, that is a creative outlet. That’s creative expression. And that’s talent, too. Just because you cannot make it manifest straight out of your head without anybody helping does not make you not an artist.”

“For me, if I can teach that to a child, if I can reach a child, or an adult, and help them tap into their creativity … it’s the best! I hear all the time, ‘I didn’t know I could do this! I had no idea I could do this!’”

The decision to create the original Doodlebug afterschool program years ago was something that she prayed about, and realized was a need that could be filled.
Many children that enjoy art can only take classes in elementary school once a week for 45 minutes, and often by the time they get to junior high and high school they may not ever get it again in their schedule.

“For a child that is really, really art inspired that is just really not enough time for them to come in and do all the exciting things they are wanting to do,” says Altman. “They are just itching and want to paint, to do clay, learn to do pencils, charcoals, and in the school year, just get one thing in for each lesson practically because it takes them a week before they come back. So what is great about Doodlebugs is they have day-by-day focus, they can really figure out and play with different materials and what they like and they can learn and develop their talent and art skills. I teach them about famous artists, art history, skills and techniques, but it’s all about hands on and doing it vs. being a graded thing and for students to work on something and give it their all, just for the love of it. It’s a very rare opportunity.”

Altman and the parents of her students see visible changes once a creative child has added opportunity to hone their artistic skills.

“It teaches them to focus, to problem solve, to collaborate with each other and get ideas from each other without copying.” she says. “That’s a big thing to teach them. There’s a lot of skills that are taught through art that children get that affects their math, their social studies, it reaches all their subject matters. I personally love that- I really do. And when I teach I try to pull in other subject matters and relate it to what they learned. If they studied cave paintings in social studies, then tray to recreate those cave paintings, put the paper up underneath their desks and have them try to do it under a desk, or on a wall, it’s just neat. It gives them a little bit of connection. And art connects.”

Contact Jenny at: 843-250-4592. To read more about her businesses visit her website, or the individual Facebook pages:

• Doodlebugs Children’s Art Program
• Vino’s Palette by Artbug Studio
• Artbug Studio

Author: Duane Childers

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