by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
Want to see the world through a whole new perspective?
Stop in at The Buzz, 128 N. Sequim Ave., this month where the artwork of more than a dozen students ages 6-12 from the Boys & Girls Club Carroll C. Kendall unit is on display.
Sequim volunteer Sam Sutherland, who turns 89 in June, organizes the annual art exhibit. Sutherland donates his time at the youth center where he teaches different art techniques three — sometimes four or five — times a week.
The students greet Sutherland with giant smiles and hugs, calling his name as they enter the room. On average, about 17 students attend the class on any given day. Some days more than 40 children participate.
Sutherland pays for all of the supplies — reference books, paper, markers, pastels — out of his own budget.
The students at the club, Sutherland said, are like grandchildren to him. Not surprisingly, the children are as fond as Sutherland as he is of them.
Eleven-year-old Tatum Jensen, who’s been attending the Boys & Girls Club for about five years, said the art room is her favorite place at the club and that Sutherland is her favorite volunteer.
“He’s nice and helpful and gives us hints on how to make it better,” Tatum said. “He pushes us to work harder.”
Heather Jones, 8, hugs Sutherland and climbs on his lap without a second thought.
“When it comes to asking questions, Sam knows the answers,” she said proudly, displaying a toothy grin.
Sutherland encourages the students to draw anything they want and simply offers guidance and reassurance. Like a loving grandfather, he has something kind to say about every child.
“They do all sorts of stuff and I don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to,” he said. “Even if they’re tracing pictures, that’s not time wasted because they are still learning how to draw figures.”
One of Sutherland’s favorite activities is thumbing through books about famous artists with the children.
“They learn from looking at other artists’ work,” he said. “It gives them an idea of what they can do and how things look from other people’s perspectives and they are often surprised at what they can do.”
Eleven-year-old Domi Hatton, a Sequim Middle School student, is one of four award winners at this year’s exhibit.
“She’s so quiet you don’t even know she’s around,” Sutherland said. “But when she gets that pencil going, things happen.”
Sutherland encourages community members to view the exhibit and bask in the amazing talent presented by today’s youth.
“You won’t be disappointed,” he promised.