Monday, July 4, 2016

The Art of Growing Artists- Part III

It's been a pleasure to share images from my week volunteering with Explore the Arts camp at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, SC. If you missed it, here are the first and second posts. Thanks to all who have left comments and vicariously enjoyed my week.

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:   

Show Stopper
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.
Ari Carroll is an aspiring artist and writer who enjoys writing sci-fi, drawing humanoid cats, and role-playing with friends. 


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. 

And while Katy Cassell, the metals instructor at the Fine Arts Center, led a teen and adult class on Printing Techniques in Enamel,

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.

During the academic year Donna teaches design at the Fine Arts Center. But for over 15 years, she has been the juggler making sure that each Explore the Arts student receives a quality experience.  
Donna is flanked by volunteer Georgia Stickler (left) and
student intern, Bonnie Campbell (right).
In 2007 Donna added classes for high school students and the following year opened them to adults. Now teachers can take a class and receive professional development points/hours toward recertification.  

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.


sheri levy said...

Very fun to see. Ari was at Hillcrest Middle when I did my author presentation and she attended my writing workshop at the Hughes Library. I didn't have any one on one time with her, but from her interaction in class, I could tell she was very creative. Looked like a great learning experience.

Carol Baldwin said...

Ari gets around and you do too, Sheri! Cool that you and I are both inspiring the next generation of writers!

sheri levy said...

Looked like a fun program! How lucky for these kids to start early!
Glad you're getting involved! Sheri

Melodye said...

I would've turned upside-down and inside-out, had something like this been available to me when I was younger! Even now, wheeeeee! What an amazing opportunity. Glad you had the opportunity to participate, and happy that you shared the experience with us.

Linda Phillips said...

I'm so glad you have discovered such a hub of creative talent, Carol. Right where you belong!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Sheri, Melodye, and LInda. It definitely is contributing to my feeling at home here!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
What a great experience for all.Great memories and building of confidence and skills for many. Glad you volunteered and had sucha good time.


Linda A. said...

What a wonderful camp experience! I'm so glad you could volunteer and take part.
Thanks for sharing with us.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Linda and Joan, for stopping by and leaving comments. YEs Joan--great confidence building. hadn't thought about that aspect, but you're right on target!

Rosi said...

It's quite an extraordinary program. I wish it were available in Sacramento. My granddaughter would love it.

Carol Baldwin said...

It is indeed, Rosi. Perhaps more fine arts camps will start sprouting up around the country! And we could be the writers teaching the classes!!

Clara Gillow Clark said...

Wonderful program. Truly stellar! What lucky, lucky kids. Thanks again for sharing, Carol.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Clara!

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