Summer Art Camp: Behind the Scenes
It’s Summer Art Camp time at the DMA! I was lucky enough to be a Summer Art Camp teacher and wanted to share the awesome experience I had teaching 6 to 8 year old kids about painting. First of all, let me say that getting ready for camp was an experience all on its own. I spent days writing up lesson plans, which means choosing works of art, coming up with gallery activities, studio projects, preparing materials for each day, etc. Luckily, I have a fantastic group of coworkers that were always willing to brainstorm and lend a helping hand. Now, even though my lesson plans were ready to go before camp started, I found myself making constant changes prior to and during class. Some changes were not by choice. The first day of camp, as I was walking my group to the second floor galleries, I find out that they are completely off access because art was on the move. My first instinct was to panic. Unfortunately, that’s not really an option when you have 16 six to eight year olds waiting impatiently. So, I had to quickly come up with a new plan and make changes accordingly. After that first mishap, it was mostly smooth sailing after that.
The first day, we focused on color. We made color wheels and Andy Warhol inspired finger paintings. The second day, we looked at Impressionist art and the kids created their very own oil paintings. Oil painting is not the easiest, but the kids absolutely loved it and rose to the challenge. The third day of camp was probably my favorite. I had the kids create Jackson Pollock style paintings in the studio which made for a big mess. There was paint splattered all over the floor, the kids, and myself. One kid, Brady, even managed to get green puff paint in his hair. I thought it was a good look for him but he didn’t really think so. That same day, we had a visiting blind artist, John Bramblitt, come in and teach the kids to paint using their sense of touch. The kids had so many questions for him and were really into the art project. It was great to see them be so engaged. The next day, we focused on artists that use materials other than canvas to paint on. We looked at works from Greece, India, Mexico, and Japan and created frescos in the studio. The last day of camp was a little hectic since parents were coming in to look at the works their kids had created. Summer camp teachers have to juggle between turning the studio into an art gallery and keeping the kids occupied. Emily, one of the summer camp interns, and Junior League volunteers hung up art while I taught a short lesson on cubism and had the summer campers paint cubist self-portraits. Thanks to my helpers, the art show was a success. The majority of the kids chose the Jackson Pollock inspired paintings and the frescos as their favorite projects. Who would have thought that painting on wet plaster would be a hit?
Needless to say, I absolutely loved being a Summer Art Camp teacher. I had an amazing group of kids that was so engaged in the galleries and had a blast in the studio. Some of the painting techniques we tried were really tricky but I got no complaints from them. They were real troopers and most definitely made my week. I leave you with pictures from the week. Maybe you’ll even try some of these art projects at home.