Art Camp Extravaganza!

Well, I am so behind on updating things here! Before it gets too long between posts, here is a brief report of three weeks of art camps at the North Carolina Museum of Art and my own little studio. It was a blast to teach these kids and also completely exhausting. I learned a ton and made a whole lot of new friends. Can't wait to do it next year!

Found and Ground Bound (6-8yrs):

This camp focused on making art with found objects. We painted with sticks and other collected natural bits and bobs; we made plaster tiles with rocks and things imbedded; we did small encaustic pieces with imbedded found elements; we collaged with leaf mold and glue and paper; we played a lot of art games and looked at tons of pieces in the galleries. 

On the last day of the week all the students set up tables to have an art show for the parents. It was great to read the signs listing and titling their creations. Everyone was so proud to show off all their hard work. 

Art Camp at Home: (Marlee and Elliot)

I wish I could have these two girls come over every single afternoon. Oh, the fun we would have!! Marlee and Elliot came each day for a week to make art till it came out of their ears. We worked on an altered book project all week, and in between made huge mono-prints, splatter painted, collaged, plaster tiles and did a little encaustic project. It was superb! 

Mold, Shape and Manipulate: (9-12 yrs)

We also made altered books in this camp. The kids loved getting to rip up and paint over old cookbooks. Except one kid who painstakingly kept every page of recipes he ripped out to give to his mom. We made pockets, bent wire clasps, glued in fold out pictures, and created creatures out of pipe cleaners that hung out of the books. We also did mono-printing, origami, and encaustic. Only three kids were brave enough to use the heat gun on their own, but all were completely enamored with wax when they left. 

This group really loved talking about art, so we had a great time in the gallery every day. On the last day I let them choose which gallery to spend time in, and they all wanted to see the Dutch and Italian art. After walking through the Italian gallery, which housed paintings from the 12th century and on, one student commented: "Mrs. Phaedra! Such a lot of killing happened then. Everyone is dying in these paintings!" I guess all those depictions of martyrs got to her. 

One thing I learned while teaching this age group is that kids are not being taught how to practically use a lot of the math and reasoning skills they are learning in school. For example, using a ruler to measure and cut a square was really hard for these guys. It just made me feel more strongly that art in school is much more than a fun optional experience. We need art to learn how to measure and cut, how to fold something straight, and how to make something in real space. How are we going to make new engineers, mechanics, builders, inventors, architects, and designers if we are not giving kids a chance to really use a ruler? 

Lots of hugs were administered on the last day, and I enjoyed being with all the kids so much I got pretty sad knowing that I'd probably never see them again. Hopefully they will remember some of our time together and at least they will be proud to be able to explain art works to their friends and family. How many 10 year olds do you know that understand enough about abstract expressionism to explain why a painting made of drips is art?