Altrincham kids arts club reaches ten year milestone

The birth of her first child will be the perfect way for Jenny Bent to celebrate ten years of her <br/>children's art club

Being a belly dancer and hosting children’s art classes might not at first appear to be associated careers, but Jenny Bent can see similarities. ‘They’re both creative and they’re both great fun,’ she said.

‘I spend a lot of my time dressed in scruffs and covered in paint in the studio but then I get to go and be a glamorous dancer. That gives me a really nice balance.’

Jenny, from Hale, is not dancing now, though, she’s heavily pregnant. Her first baby is due next month and while it has put the dancing on hold, she is determined to carry on with the term-time art classes, although she will take the half term and Easter holidays off as she prepares for the new arrival.

She launched the Parsley Pie Art Club ten years ago - named after her cat Mr Parsley Pie - and said: ‘I want to keep doing the classes for as long as possible, right up until the due date, if I can.

‘The children who come to the classes have the freedom to choose what they want to do - oil painting, clay modelling, sculpture, fabrics, anything really - and that creates tremendous creative energy. I love to be creative and to encourage other people to be creative.

‘My philosophy is all about laughter, creativity, learning and freedom of expression, and the children love it. They have a huge choice of materials and activities.’

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Since 2001, Jenny has held more than 3,000 art classes, as well as workshops in schools, art parties and exhibitions of her pupils’ work at Hale Library. And as well Mr Parsley Pie, Jenny’s pupils also get to meet her five other cats and two pygmy goats.

Phillipa Higson, 15, has been attending Jenny’s classes since she was seven and said: ‘I have been going every week, including during the summer holidays, and I have learned a lot. It is a good place to meet and chat and laugh after school, too.’