When Ruth Harris opened KitsapArt School of the Arts, she only had two students.
Now, 10 years and a new location later, Harris teaches about 150 people the joys of creating beautiful artwork.
KitsapArt School of the Arts in Old Town Silverdale is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Harris opened KitsapArt, then with a different name, on Fourth Street in downtown Bremerton in 1998. She packed up and moved her school to Old Town Silverdale in 2001.
KitsapArt offers mostly painting and drawing classes as well as summer camps for 4-year-olds to adults.
“Fine art is what we do,” Harris said. “We believe anybody can be taught how to draw and paint. The creativity really comes out once they get a little confidence in what they can do.”
Harris now has 150 students and her own staff at KitsapArt School of the Arts.
“I’ve had huge support from the art community,” Harris said. “Everybody’s just been really supportive.”
KitsapArt School of the Arts celebrated its 10-year anniversary during the Old Town Silverdale Art Walk in June. Longtime KitsapArt students displayed their current works of art as well as drawings and paintings of years past.
Katie Pitchford, 17, of Silverdale, began attending KitsapArt classes 10 years ago, when the school first opened, and enjoys attending her weekly classes.
“I think I’ll continue to do art even when I go other places,” Pitchford said. “Just painting and expressing yourself is a great thing.”
Scarlett Broere, 15, a Central Kitsap High School student, also began attending KitsapArt 10 years ago. She “doodled on everything,” so her parents enrolled her in art classes. She said she likes attending the school because Harris allows them lots of creative freedom and teaches her students new art techniques along the way.
“(KitsapArt) is actually a really cool place to be,” Broere said.
Broere’s friend Dana Rubenstein, 15, has attended KitsapArt for eight years and also enjoys the artistic freedom offered at the Old Town Silverdale art school.
“It’s fun, that’s why I come,” Rubenstein said. “You can do what you want with your art.”
KitsapArt School of the Arts participates in every Old Town Silverdale Art Walk and hosts an art show every April in Kitsap Mall. Harris said her students have sold numerous pieces of their own artwork throughout the years.
“They’re doing better than I am (selling their artwork),” Harris said with a smile.
Pitchford’s artwork from the past 10 years is on display at KitsapArt and she said “it’s fun to look back” on her old work. Broere said she also enjoys critiquing the paintings and drawings she created when she was just 5 years old.
“I’m glad that my artwork looks better now,” Broere said.
Harris said “it was a risk” opening KitsapArt when she only had two students, but community support really helped the school take off.
“I’m like amazed that it all came together and that the community has supported us to the extent they have,” Harris said.
KitsapArt School of Arts’ student artwork presentations will be on display at the Old Town Silverdale school for a few months.