“Without art, ‘earth’ is just ‘eh’”: Summer Camp with the Pre-Teens
By Sam Sorensen, ArtsQuest Visual Arts Intern
The young artists of the pre-teen studio intensives participated in a number of exciting classes offered at the ArtsQuest summer art camps, including mixed media sculpture, board game design, art bots, digital animation, introduction to filmmaking, screen-printing, resin jewelry, and glassblowing.
One of the projects campers created in the mixed media sculpture class were balloon sculptures. Led by resident artist Virginia Abbott, the class made balloon animals or structures and then covered them with recycled paper and glue. Abbott noted, “Once you get the basics of sculpture, you can build anything.” One camper, Willow, was excited about being able to use the art she created. “Art isn’t just about paintings, it can be wearable,” she said. Though the students did paint in this class, they also sculpted beads and balloons. Kirkland’s favorite part of the camp was her painting of Elvis while Liana’s was the bracelet she made with the beads; she ultimately gifted it to her sister. Abbott gave her students everything to succeed. Lindsay also commented that “without art, ‘earth’ is just ‘eh.’”
Evelyn (Evie), a veteran camper, noted that her favorite class was jewelry and wearable art, taught by resident artist Kim Hogan. She explained that she was becoming “more familiar with the techniques [of jewelry making].” Alternatively, the video game class she was also taking presented an opportunity to grow because it was “something [she’d] never done.” But, she “learned how to do it, so if [she] wants to make a video game in the future, [she] can.” For Evie, summer camp opens a world a possibility.
Anisa, who had been with us at camp for a few weeks, “loved making the earrings with Miss Kim [Hogan],” much like Evie. She also loved the ceramics class she took with resident artist Deb Slahta. Anisa and Evie both took Mallory Zondag’s resin jewelry making class with Issac. Issac loved both the resin class and glassblowing. He said, “Both are great because they are different challenges.”
The art party at the end of each week allows the campers to showcase the weeks’ creations. Families and friends fill the Banko Family Room Gallery as artists happily show their work. They also get to see how their pieces of art may complement or converse with another class’ projects. Ultimately,
summer camps encourage children of all ages to enjoy art by building upon what they made the day before, reworking pieces as their ideas evolve, and talking to other campers about their art. This process helps young artists gain self-confidence, self-awareness, and independence as they develop fundamental communication, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.