Letters from Camp: An Insider’s Perspective

Each year, the Family Experiences staff has the privilege of working with a wonderful and extremely talented group of summer camp interns. These dynamic individuals truly make up the heart and soul of our camps and are responsible not only for the day-to-day operation of the program but for also helping to make the connection between our campers and works of art something that is both enjoyable and transformative. We could not run our camps without them! This is the third in a four-part series written by our summer camp interns and reflecting on their experiences at the Museum.–JC

For the past couple of summers I have caught myself relaxing by the pool, hanging out with family and friends and constantly practicing for the up and coming marching season with the band. I never thought I would find myself spending countless hours with wild kids all summer and I never thought I would enjoy the company of them as much as I have.

The summer camp kids astound me. It’s amazing how many different personalities walk through our doors. From kids who think they are ninjas, constantly striking new warrior poses; to kids who have their whole life planned out, becoming the mayor of a huge city; they all have one thing in common–they are all creative. Sometimes we find creativity in unexpected places. When parents sign their children up for art camp they expect to see creativity in all the artwork created throughout the week and they sure do find it! If only the parents could see all the creativity that happens during the week that does not end up on paper.

Take our ninja for example. He wasn’t always the most focused child when we were in the galleries, but once you asked how a ninja could relate to the piece of artwork we were viewing he was quick to come up with a wonderfully creative story and it was hard to stop him! I will never forget in ABCs of Art when we took a special field trip to the Crow Museum to learn some yoga. When we began the exercises our special ninja was not really in the mindset to participate in yoga until he heard of a special pose called warrior. He quickly jumped in and explained to me that all warriors exercised like that to defeat the evil wicked villains. In this case our ninja’s creativity was not always found in his art work but instead in his action stories he created in his wild imagination.

Thomas Sully, “Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire”, 1843

Most of the creativity in the camps comes from inspiration during our gallery walks. Our story teller took our Think Like a Pro camp to view the Cinderella painting by Thomas Sully and asked the kids why they thought Cinderella had a slight smirk on her face. Without hesitation the students threw out answers: her cat made her happy, the prince finally told her he loved her, and she was happy because she tricked her wicked step mother. After the kids individually had a story that went along with the painting they looked around the room and found ways to incorporate the other works of art into the story of Cinderella. Their imaginations bloomed later the next day when they each got to make up a completely new story with the help of a painting they choose themselves.

Personally, my favorite creations from the students are the most random ones. A mustache outbreak was formed in one of the classes and eventually everyone was wearing a cutout mustache and had an alter ego. Although we don’t tell the parents all the other wild things their children come up with during the week I am glad I got to experience all the imaginative creations with the kids. This summer has been the most enjoyable experience and I could not ask for anything other than that.

Posted by: Toni Madrid

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2 Comments

Filed under Center for Creative Connections, Children’s art, DMA Programs, Parents

2 responses to “Letters from Camp: An Insider’s Perspective

  1. Carl W. Block

    What a great experience! You are Greatness!

  2. Jessica

    Very inspiring article…I love you Toni!

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