Introducing Bayla Laks


Our VISTA Volunteer, Bayla, teaching an art class

Some of you may already know our fantastic VISTA volunteer, Bayla. For those of you who don’t, we wanted to take some time to introduce you to her. Bayla received her BFA from The Hartford Art School in Connecticut with a major in Illustration and a minor in Art History. In addition to her studies in Hartford, Bayla has studied in Italy, Mexico, and at the Camberwell College of Arts at the University of Arts London. Bayla also has extensive experience working with students of all ages teaching classes such as painting, drawing, printmaking, and bookbinding. Bayla’s artwork has been displayed in numerous galleries and exhibits, and has been featured on the covers of music albums and films. To see more of her stunning artwork you can visit her website here.

Bayla joined us at the Fine Arts Camp in August as our VISTA volunteer and has been working hard to coordinate and expand our Yaw After School Art program. In addition to her administrative work on the program, Bayla will be teaching a class for our second session called Watercolor Painting Sea Life & Specimen, which will take place at the Sitka Sound Science Center. We decided to ask Bayla a few questions about her early experiences with art and why she thinks it is so important for children to be exposed to the arts at an early age.

Q: How did you get started as an artist?

A: I first started drawing as a toddler, making illustrated books and stories that my parents would have to write the words in for me.

Q: What did you find inspiring about art when you were a kid?

A: As a kid I definitely loved painting and drawing, but mostly it was a way to occupy myself when I was having trouble sitting still. This was often, but also good practice. When I started being able to draw things the way I saw them in my head, I was inspired to keep working and keep getting better.

Q: Why did you pick the Science Center as a teaching location?

A: I picked the Science Center as a teaching location because when I first went inside, I was personally inspired to paint and draw the animals in the tanks, as well as the extensive collection of specimen. When I was designing my upcoming class for the After School Art Program, I thought to myself, “what better way to combine art and local environmental education?!” I wanted to teach a watercolor class and felt the Science Center would be an excellent theme to base the class structure around.

Q: What is your favorite part about working with kids?

A: When I was young I had many influential and inspiring artists teaching and guiding me. I am always still learning, but its nice to be able to pass on what I know and help guide beginning artists. My favorite part is always being surprised by the incredible work kids are capable of.

Q: What is your message to young people about art?

A: I believe successful art comes from practice. Talent is great, but at the end of the day, practice is what makes the difference, so keep working at it, no matter how good you get!

Q: Why did you choose illustration as your focus? 

A: I chose to study Illustration in school because I appreciated the narrative, story telling aspect, as well as the opportunity for collaboration with writers.

Q: Why is it so important for children to be exposed to art at an early age?

It is important for kids to be exposed to art from an early age because the creative process contributes to a child’s development. Art promotes communication skills, problem solving, self expression,self confidence, self discipline, stimulates the imagination, develops fine tuned motor skills, and much much more.


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