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Huntington writing studio taps kids' imaginations

Kaia Smith, 17, of Lloyd Neck, and Liana

Kaia Smith, 17, of Lloyd Neck, and Liana Salgado, 15, or Riverhead, work on their short stories during Saturday's Teen Salon class at the Pulitzer & Panetta creative studio in Huntington. (Credit: Pulitzer & Panetta creative studio )

If your kids have a nose for news and an eye for detail, Pulitzer & Panetta Writing & Art studio in Huntington is a place where they can tap into their creative side. Here they learn how to generate story ideas, research information, interview sources, take photographs, write and package their stories, and publish a newspaper.

That these kids, between ages 6 and 18, can show and tell — you can read all about it in their newspaper Pulitzer & Panetta Gazette (published by kids, for kids) — is a testament to their skills and to their instructors, Lisa Pulitzer and Susan Panetta, who formed the studio in 2009. Pulitzer is a best-selling author and former correspondent for The New York Times and Panetta is former creative director of New York’s Lincoln Center.

After finding there were no places on Long Island for kids interested in creative writing and journalism, the duo created a program “where we could teach kids to write stories .  . .  how to do layout and design . . . and have them write and illustrate their books.” The studio uses InDesign to publish the newspaper, but kids also use MAC programs.

They learn elements of storytelling and write everything from news and feature stories to chapter books and poetry, Pulitzer said. Northport High School senior Caitlin Dwyer, 17, finished a 350-page novel she is submitting to publishing houses in the city.

The studio offers classes for all different age levels. “We have kids, for example, who are high school age who are part of a salon and they come for two hours and they do serious writing . . . Kids come in with their laptops and sit on their couches. We give them a writing prompt and they write anywhere from five- to 50-page short stories,” Pulitzer said. “They have their own little writing community so it’s really nice because at school the writing is geared toward exams and passing SATs and things like that. They don’t have a chance to be creative. So this enables them to really explore their creative side.”

Each year, the studio publishes a book of students’ works and hosts an “Authors Party” at Book Revue in Huntington, where kids take the podium and read their works out aloud.

The studio also offers classes in sculpture and pottery, chess and engineering, among others. Cost is $100 to $200 per four-week session, depending on the class.
The studio is open Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. Classes are also scheduled after school hours. For more details, visit: www.pulitzerandpanetta.com/pulitzerandpanetta.com/HOME.html

Above, Kaia Smith, 17, of Lloyd Neck, and Liana Salgado, 15, or Riverhead, work on their short stories during a Saturday Teen Salon class.at Pulitzer & Panetta Writing & Art studio in Huntington.

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