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Building bricks of children’s festival

LEGO pro Robin Sather hosts one of many workshops slated for the Whistler Children’s Art Festival

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By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Whistler Children’s Art Festival workshops

Registration: July 9

Where: Whistler Arts Council

There was never any question what to buy Robin Sather for his birthday or Christmas.

The now 40-something LEGO enthusiast has been stacking bricks since he was seven years old.

He loved those plastic steps into the imagination so much, he created a job for himself and has become one of five LEGO Certified Professionals in the world.

“It’s my favourite pastime,” he said from his home in Abbotsford. “I love drawing, but a blank canvas scares me, but if you give me a bunch of bricks. I can only put them together in so many ways. It’s got a comfortable structure with a clear framework, but also lots of creativity within it. It’s safe creativity.”

The LEGO building workshop, hosted by the Whistler Museum, is one of many workshops being offered at the 24 th annual Whistler Children’s Art Festival, July 14 and 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Creekside.

The certified master builder recently returned from building a dinosaur for the Lost Worlds exhibit at the Telus World of Science in Edmonton. The model was the first creation of the recently discovered dinosaur called an Albertaceratops. Ancient figure, modern remembrance; the face was built eight feet tall and six feet wide by tens of thousands of bricks over three days by Sather and a guest builder.

Sather’s LEGO creations include everything from a small model of a breakfast table with cereal and a carton of milk to large-scale projects such as a castle and a bust of an Egyptian sphinx. Many can be viewed at brickville.ca.

Wildlife will be on the building block tables at the Whistler Children’s Art Festival. The workshop will include a building instruction component as well as free building.

“Basically we will start with guided play and put something together,” he said. “Then I’ll give kids a chance to do their own creations. There will be prizes for the most inventive ones. I also might give them the same pieces and then give them a theme and see what they do. It’s amazing to see what kids come up with.”

Sather deems LEGO a universal language everyone can play with.

“It brings kids together like nothing else does,” he said. “It’s a great thing for kids and adults to bond over and unleash their creativity. It doesn’t matter what language you speak or what background you have or where you live, LEGO seems to bring people together. Everyone seems to gravitate to these little plastic bricks.”

In addition to LEGO building, Kids can get hands on in other workshops, including paddle carving, bear-paw shirt printing, cartoon drawing, photo snapping, painting and magic workshops. There are also performance workshops in jazz dancing, musical theatre, karaoke and acting.

Workshop registration takes place Monday, July 9 to Thursday, July 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Whistler Arts Council office, located behind Marketplace. Workshops fill up quickly, so early registration is recommended.

Workshops range in price from $3 to $6, with appropriate age groups for each one-to-two-hour class.

When not LEGO building and dancing, kids can also leave experts to the entertainment. The festival mainstage lineup showcases everything from circus acts and Brazilian music to African drumming and local storytelling.

For more information, visit whistlerartscouncil.com.

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