Dusty Kinman (right) of 60 West Gallery in Wickenburg works with third graders at Congress Elementary School on the basics of painting a landscape. Kinman visits eight different area schools, bringing art to students.
By Shawn Byrne
When school districts had to tighten their belts as education funding dried up due to the Great Recession, many chose to do away with arts classes as a way to conserve funds.
Wickenburg’s Dusty Kinman has no intention of letting that stop children from getting exposed to art.
If schools can’t offer art to their students, then Kinman is offering art to the schools.
“I’m targeting the schools that don’t have art,” said the proprietor of 60 West Gallery, 220 E. Wickenburg Way. “If they don’t have art, that’s where I come in.”
Kinman told the Sun that he has eight schools to which he’s bringing art. He recently gave an hour-long presentation to the students in first through eighth grades at Nadaburg Elementary in Wittmann.
“The kids watched me paint a painting in 45 minutes,” Kinman said. “I got a standing ovation. It was great.”
He also held a 1½ hour class for 15 students from third grade at Congress Elementary School. The students watched Kinman paint and then duplicated the painting on their own canvasses. Each student finished their painting, and those paintings will be hung at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28 at Congress Community Clinic, 26750 B Santa Fe Road.
“They’ll hang there for six months,” Kinman said. “The kids get to be in the spotlight. After six months, we’ll rotate another 15.”
The students also get to take the gift of painting home with them. The palette and supplies used to create their personal masterpieces are theirs to keep.
A hanging of paintings from Nadaburg students is scheduled for Oct. 2, and Kinman’s vision reaches beyond the Wickenburg area. He wants to take getting arts back into schools nationwide.
“We could have videos for the teachers and students for three days a week,” the third-generation palette-knife artist said. “It would only cost students about $10 for supplies. I’d like to tour the country and visit the schools that use the program.”
Kinman promises his technique of only using a palette knife – no brushes – can be grasped by nearly everyone. The technique has been handed down through four generations in his family, beginning with his grandmother.
She took art classes in the 1930s that utilized brushes and palette knives. She eventually put the brushes down, and before she died recently at 92, she had created about 9,000 paintings. Some are hanging at 60 West Gallery.
Kinman is now teaching his children, who have already sold some of their works for $300 and $500. It comes from his grandmother who taught his parents, and in turn they taught him.
Kinman once had a promising career in the corporate world, but he took a chance when he was 19 and sold 17 paintings for $47,000. His aspirations for a future with arts in schools around the country, an art college, and his own building for a gallery show he made the right choice.
And not only for himself and his family, but for Wickenburg as well.