“It can change your perspective”: Summer Camp with the Teens

By Sam Sorensen, ArtsQuest Visual Arts Intern

This summer teen artists joined us at the Banana Factory Arts Center for innovative, art-intensive classes offered through the ArtsQuest summer art camps, including Ceramics, Urban Street Photography, Drawing and Painting, Screen Printing, Upcycled Fashion, Glassblowing, and, for the first time ever, Introduction to Filmmaking.

Ceramics, taught by Resident Artist Deborah Slahta, was a new challenge for some and an old hobby for others. Slahta gave a demonstration on the first day that emphasized eccentric methods, like “Spock” and “puppy-kitty.” These are easy to remember and help the students to focus on learning the skills rather than an end product. It’s very hands-on because, according to Slahta, “you’re developing a touch to do anything [in ceramics], really.”

Sara, who is going into eighth grade this coming school year, attempted ceramics for the first time this summer. She attended camp last year for the photography classes, but she returned this year to try ceramics in addition to taking Urban Street Photography and Introduction to Filmmaking. Catharine, on the other hand, has seven years of ceramics experience as a repeat camper. She loves the ArtsQuest summer camps because it’s not only something to do, “it opens you to other stuff, and it can change your perspective.” Her goal this summer was to improve her throwing skills, especially centering.

In the Urban Street Photography class, led by Teaching Artist Joan Pasternak, the students learned to take, edit, print, and mat photographs. Pasternak and her students traveled around Bethlehem’s south side to find photographic opportunities. SteelStacks and Linderman Library on Lehigh’s campus were two favorites. Lidia loved the spiral staircase in Linderman. Jin also enjoyed the freedom of picking places to go as a class. Her favorite location to photograph was the alleyways because she found beauty in the “less frequented places.” Brandon has also taken photography classes with Pasternak before, and he believed he is “starting to really learn the photography programs and practice his skills.”

Last but not least, the new Introduction to Filmmaking course, taught by Drew Swedberg, was popular among the teens. They worked on conducting and editing artist interviews with Katie Hovencamp, Virginia Abbott, and Bobby Zeik. Jackson, a first-time summer camp student, signed up exclusively for the filmmaking class; his mother paid for the class as a birthday gift. He hopes to become a movie producer, and he became interested in this career just by watching movies. Another student, Daniel, revealed that it was challenging to edit in a group, but they “finished up well” and were proud of the result.

Quite a few students that took Urban Street Photography also registered for Introduction to Filmmaking. Jin noted that the two classes “inform one another,” and Lidia agreed. Lidia explained that the photography class helped her to set up her shots better in the filmmaking class. The Urban Street Photography class resulted in an impressive display of matted photographs at the week’s art party. Introduction to Filmmaking students were able to show their films to family and friends in the Crayola Gallery as well as keep a digital copy.

To explore this year’s summer art camp options at The Banana Factory, CLICK HERE.