Art Play: Unleash your kid’s creativity

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“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.”

Those words, from artist Marc Chagall, explain why many novices are reluctant to attempt making their own art.

“Most people, of all ages, believe they need to know how to draw in order to create art,” said Antonio Muñoz. “It’s a self-limiting thought that isn’t true.”

“Art comes from emotions,” said Patty Labozzo, “and we all have emotions.”

Muñoz, a graphic designer and visual artist, and Labozzo, a creative writer, are the Ridgefield residents whose friendship and shared outlook have found an outlet in Art Play. Focusing on the hands-on exploration of mixed media, acrylic, and collage, Art Play offers weekly classes for several age groups (4-5, 6-8, 9-12) at Jesse Lee Memorial Methodist Church on Main Street in Ridgefield. Classes for teenagers and adults are also available.

Unlike craft-focused programs, Art Play aims to weave art theory and education into projects using artist-grade materials. Muñoz and Labozzo also provide an emphasis on design.

“We want our students to unleash their creativity,” said Muñoz, a member of the Ridgefield Guild of Artists, who served on the group’s board of directors from 2010 until earlier this year. “We provide the tools, and the techniques, and also the freedom they need to create in a stress-free environment.”

Muñoz and Labozzo met two years ago.

“I was my daughter’s home-room mother at Scotland [Elementary] School,” said Labozzo. “We needed to create a project for the annual art gala and we were stumped. I saw some of Antonio’s work at various places and absolutely loved it. I found his email online and wrote to him, and within 45 minutes he sent an email back saying he would love to assist.”

“I got Patty’s message and was inspired,” said Muñoz. “We decided to do something with the kids’ hands, which change significantly as they grow older. Patty had the students ink their hands and place them on paper, and I then vectorized them into a print that became a piece on plexiglass.”

Art Play had its first classes in May, and Muñoz and Labozzo are already thinking about expansion. In addition to more classes, the two have plans for after-school enrichment programs, birthday parties, and Family Art Night. “We would bring the materials to the house and help the family create art,” said Muñoz. “It could be a few hours where everyone puts their cell phones and laptops away and has fun together as a family,” added Labozzo.

Less than four months since its inception, Art Play is already receiving praise.

“Great for all ages,” wrote a parent in a Facebook review. “They know how to bring out the artist in your child and really make them fall in love with art while learning so much about what they are doing. Simply an amazing class and program.”

“Our aim is for people to have fun and take home something of quality that they can be proud of,” said Labozzo. “That’s our goal … that’s what makes us happy.”

For more information visit “Art Play at Jesse Lee's Facebook page, contact Patty Labozzo at 203-438-6252, Antonio Muñoz at 203-918-1498 or