Trinity Lutheran hosts inaugural art camp

Squirting dish soap on a clipboard and then adding spray paint.

Using metal stamps to make words and images in clay. Putting stems of plants and potting soil in painted jars. Making shrinky dinks.

Drawing a self-portrait. Painting using watercolor. Doing printmaking, ceramics and shadow drawing.

Twenty-six area elementary school-age boys and girls gave all of these types of art a try during a recent three-day art camp at Trinity Lutheran High School in Seymour.

Art teacher Carrie Adler said she tried to offer this several years ago, but there wasn’t much interest. This time, thanks to advertising the camp on social media, the interest was abundant.

“This time, it was fast. It filled up in like three days,” Adler said.

She wound up with a waiting list and encouraged the parents of those kids to sign up for the art camp at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour, which was offered the past two weeks.

“Between the two of us, we can service a lot of the youth in Jackson County and surrounding counties,” Adler said. “It’s important to get them in and get creative. I think we offer every sports camp alive, but there’s not a whole lot for the creative.”

The camp sessions were three hours apiece, and on the final day, kids and their families could come back that evening to check out the art show featuring all of the items made. After that, they took their finished pieces home.

In creating the camp itinerary, Adler said she got ideas from art teachers that she follows on social media and The Art of Education University.

“A lot of times, I’ll take a high school (art project) and break it down into something simpler,” she said. “By having it multiple days, we can do multiple things in one project so that they get experience with printmaking and painting and tracing and drawing and all of the things in one project.”

Elsie Hopkins, 9, who is going into fourth grade at Immanuel Lutheran School in Seymour, said her favorite activity was spray painting the clipboards.

“That was really fun,” she said.

Since she does art at school and home, she thought the camp would be a fun thing to do.

“I just really like art and that you can just make up your own art,” Hopkins said. “There are no certain rules, and you get to do abstract and all these different kinds of art. I like to be creative because it makes me feel free. Sometimes, when I’m at home and when I’m doing art, it’s just like you get a break from the world and you just get to have a good time.”

Joseph Cremeans, 7, an incoming second-grader at White Creek Lutheran School in Columbus, said he liked the clay project.

“I liked to stamp and do my name and a dragonfly and a butterfly,” he said.

Like Hopkins, he enjoys doing art at school and home.

“We do a lot at school. I sometimes do it at home,” he said. “I just like to draw whatever I want.”

At the camp, Cremeans said he liked making new friends and also working with and learning from Adler and 10 of her students.

Adler said the high school helpers were amazing.

“They have been wonderful leaders,” she said. “They have cleaned their little hearts out while they’ve been here, and I offered them a free T-shirt. That’s definitely a draw.”

As for the takeaway from the camp, Adler said she hopes the kids maintain their love of art.

“I think one of the things that happens as kids get older is they forget to be creative and they forget how to be creative because everything tends to be so structured and we follow such a blueprint for everything,” she said.

One of the things she focuses on with her high school students is creativity first and the skill and technique will come later.

“A lot of times, my high school kids will not master things until they are seniors, but that’s not a problem for me,” Adler said. “I want the creativity to be blooming as they are here or getting back into their system. I want them to be creative. While we’re doing the same project, they should all look so vastly different from one another. That’s the goal.”

The plan is to have the camp again next summer and maybe even break it into two sessions — one for first- and second-graders and the other one for third- and fourth-graders.

“Hopefully from this then next year, they want to come back or their friends want to come,” Adler said. “That would be nice because I do think it would be easier to have some of those with more in their toolbox in a different group because they can do a little bit more.”

The kids explored a lot of types of art this time, so Adler said she will have to be creative in designing next year’s camp.

“I had a few things in my back pocket just for a one-day thing, so I really have used all I have,” she said. “I’m going to have to really think for next year how we will improve and focus on different things. I will have to be more creative coming up for next year because I think I’ve used my toolbox of elementary-level projects.”