EATON — The Visual Arts Center of Preble County’s (601 Hillcrest Dr.) summer art camp is under way for children ages kindergarten through sixth grade. During themed morning and afternoon sessions each weekday, kids are led through activities that encourage teamwork and creativity while learning about art and its principles.
Education and operations manager Caitlin Cartwright, who designs and leads the camp, included an art masters unit during a week comprised mostly of small children.
“They did pieces that took inspiration from different artists or periods of art history. We made Van Gogh cookies, for example, and everybody loved when we did a Jackson Pollock-inspired splatter painting outside, and then in the afternoon, we worked on a mural outside. One kid said, ‘This is. The best. Day. Because. We get. To do. This. And then. We get to paint. On the WALL.’”
Last week, a camper celebrated a birthday, and her fellow campers, an all-girl class, gathered to sing “Happy Birthday” and share cookies. Eaton student Lainie Roberts, who turned 12, also received surprise drawings made for her by the other girls, including 6-year-old Breann Smith’s picture of a towering chocolate cake that read “Happy Cake Lainie.”
The friendships formed between the campers have been a bonus for instructors.
“I had an introverted group of kids who would probably each be the quietest kids in their individual classrooms,” said art instructor Peggy Schuning, “and they were able to bloom and work really well together. It’s an extension of school, but they can still have fun with it, so for introverts and those who like to work with others, there are opportunities for all of them.”
“In a lot of schools,” said executive director Vicky Fanburg, “art is being phased out or diminished, but here it’s more than just markers on paper. They’re really being pushed, and really pushing themselves, to come up with some creative solutions and problem solve to get there and expand what they see as art.”
Art camp continues through July 22, with morning, afternoon, and full day options. Half-day pricing is $75 for members and $95 for non-members; full day pricing is $150 for members, $190 for non-members. $5 discounts are given for siblings registered. To check availability or ask questions, call 937-456-3999. Registration forms are available at the Art Center or at camps.takepartinart.net
Reach Duante Beddingfield at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @duanteb_RH.