FARMINGTON — The year of the dragon turns into the year of the snake on Sunday and half a dozen kids gathered at Farmington Museum to celebtate the Chinese New Year with crafts.

Arts Alive, an afterschool program for children, has a different theme each week. This week the program was Chinese New Year and the kids made fans using popsicle sticks, string, stamps and paper.

Arts Alive normally takes place on the terrace at the museum every Wednesday around 3 p.m. However, when weather is bad, organizers move the program into the museum and set up a series of colorful tables.

Hayley Telford, 10, sat at one of those tables with a couple of pieces of paper in front of her. She picked up a panda stamp, dipped it into a multi-colored ink pad and pressed it onto the paper next to some pink cherry blossom stamps. Hayley said she likes to create art.

Hayley and her brothers, David, 7, and Anthony, 5, attend Arts Alive every week.

"I just like to make these (crafts,) cause they're fun," David said.

Anthony picked up the stamp he'd just pressed onto his paper and put it back in the box. "Now for a Chinese Dragon," he exclaimed and began rumaging for the Chinese Dragon stamp.

Once he'd found the stamp, Anthony dipped it onto the red ink pad.

Julia Thom, one of the museum's volunteers, led the program. Thom said it is important for the kids to be creative. And, she said, the experience of going to the museum is also important.


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"They step in the door and they see other things, whether they recognize it or not," Thom said.

Bart Wilsey, the musuem director, said Arts Alive has been a weekly event for about the past three years. One of the former educators at the museum started the program as an attempt to bring families into the museum. Wilsey said grant money from New Mexico Arts helped them get the program running.

Wilsey said Arts Alive has had a variety of crafts, including beading.

Next week, program participants will make Valentine's heart doily paintings. For more information call 505-599-1169.