Apart from talented instructors, one of the things that amazed me was the venue for this camp: the Fine Arts Center itself. It was like attending camp in a museum with one major difference: instead of entering gallery rooms off the halls filled with glass, pottery, exotic quilts, and lithographs, students walked into fully equipped art classrooms and studios.
Here is a peak into more of the classes:
The creative writing instructor, Laura Gerhiser Hensel, is my new friend who suggested I volunteer at the camp. During her class, upper elementary and middle school students focused on the basics of figurative language and incorporating the five senses into various writing exercises. Writing both poetry and prose, students invented new words, played with phrases, and explored synesthesia.
Laura leads a story telling exercise:
Here is a poem Ari Carroll, a rising seventh grader at Hillcrest Middle, wrote:
I remember pancakes and doughnuts
And marathons of Saturday morning cartoons.
I remember wondering if I could ever draw that well.
Syrup, thick and slow, sliding off the counter and perfectly into the bag on the floor.
pages and pages vanquished by sugary goodness. A true killer.
I remember yellow humanoid bunnies and tuxedo-wearing demons and alien cats named Fifi.
Being excited for my first commission.
Waiting all day,
I ran upstairs after dinner.
And drew and redrew every painful frame.
I decided enough was enough, and I pressed into the paper a little too hard.
I remember the explosion, the ink everywhere, and the fun I had, letting the crazy take over.
I remember waking up on the floor too early, only to edit the frames together.
Triumphantly, I released the animation.
Upstairs, artist Yoshiko Moon taught her young students Japanese art including print making, origami, and several different ink techniques.
Downstairs, Candice Bryant led kindergarten through third graders in musical theater.
|Katy demonstrates an enameling technique.|
|A VERY hot enameling kiln.|
a few doors down, Ted Mickens showed students how to make a plaster bank, create spin art, sculpt figures from wire, and sculpt foam blocks,
|Ted Mickens at work.|
and Amanda Griffith taught animal portrait painting.
Coordinating 20 teachers, over 200 students, and 16 high school volunteers, is like juggling balls, rings, clubs, and a few fire sticks. To do that takes someone with a passion for arts education and a love for children. It takes a person like Donna Shank-Major.
|Donna is flanked by volunteer Georgia Stickler (left) and|
student intern, Bonnie Campbell (right).
Donna, along with her staff of highly qualified instructors, created an atmosphere of exploration, engagement, and collaboration which stretches and grows each participant. The result is a week of diverse art instruction which parallels Greenville itself: a city with more art, music, and drama than I have time to appreciate.
But Explore the Arts was a good beginning.