Youth learn about various types of art at camp

While planning this year’s art camp at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour, Georgiann Coons asked some kids what they wanted to do.

One of them said, “More science.”

That’s how the theme of “Arts in the Sciences” came about for each session of the camp.

The projects revolved around something different each day: Galaxy, weather, animals and amazing insects and fancy flowers.

Between the two sessions, 67 kindergartners through fifth-graders had an opportunity to draw the planets using pastels, make necklaces that looked like the planets and create a galaxy jar with paint, cotton balls and glitter. They also made snow dough using hair conditioner and corn starch, got coffee filters wet and painted them to make rainbows, drew sunflowers and painted them and made flowers out of tissue paper.

Other projects included painting wooden hexagons to fill with bee-related items and using clay to make figurines.

To compile all of the projects they made, they created art portfolios to carry them home in to show off to family and friends.

“I tried to find things that related to different areas of science,” said Coons, a board member for the art center. “I think it’s really fun to have a theme because even though you don’t have to be really sciency, it makes them think. We talk a little bit about the sciences every morning. We’ve had a lot of good projects and a lot of fun.”

Offering the camp each summer is a way to maintain the kids’ interest in art and let them know it’s possible to do art with stuff around the house, Coons said.

“It doesn’t take much. You need a pencil and a piece of paper,” she said.

She likes being a part of camp each year.

“It’s just really fun to share what I love to do,” Coons said. “I’m just an amateur, but I love art, and I want them to love it, too. The more art they can do, the better.”

Aubrey Stahl, 6, and John Kruse, 7, attended art camp for the first time.

“I like to do art a lot,” Stahl said of why she chose to go to camp.

Her favorite activity was making items out of clay in the imagination station room. She made a bunny.

“You can make anything you want out of the materials,” she said.

Kruse said he likes drawing pictures and making things. His favorite camp project was the galaxy jar, and he was excited to take all of his art home to show others.

Kameron Williams, 11, is an art camp veteran, having gone in the summer for at least five years.

“I like just being able to do whatever I want here. It’s always really fun,” he said.

So what’s his favorite type of art?

“I like sketching and drawing a lot. I like drawing really weird characters,” Williams said, smiling.

Each year, he said he has fun at art camp.

“I think for little kids, it’s better so that they can express their imagination more,” Williams said. “Then at home, they don’t know really all they want to do, and this gives them something to do.”

Volunteering at art camp for the third summer was a full-circle moment for Liza Stuckwisch. The Seymour High School senior said she remembers going to the camp when she was younger.

“I remember I loved the music, and I remember doing tie-dye,” she said. “I just remember I had a lot of fun, so I was happy to come back and help. I like the kids. I think they are all super fun, and I like all of the different personalities.”

She has been involved in the musical at SHS, so she serves as an example to the campers that they can continue to do different types of art as they get older.

“It just exposes them to the arts,” she said. “In our community, we’re kind of sportsy, and I think (art camp) just gives them an example you don’t have to do that or you can do music in high school and it will be fun. It gives them a different way to express themselves, and it just gives them a way to meet new people and just have fun and do crafts and music and do different things than they normally do.”

Coons said she already has thought about next year’s art camp theme — holidays or nations.

“I just start thinking about it now,” she said. “I keep a Pinterest board just for art camp when I see things that look interesting, things I think they’d like.”

Until then, Executive Director Speck Mellencamp is going to offer something to keep kids busy with art the remainder of this summer. Starting this week, Drop In and Draw with Speck will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursdays at the art center, 2001 N. Ewing St., Seymour. The cost is $5 per session.

“He will help develop their ideas or just sit and draw with them,” Coons said. “He wanted to do it the rest of the summer and see where that leads. Some of these kids already take some private lessons with him, so that’s pretty cool, too.”