Archive for the 'Summer Camp' Category

Summer Art Camp at the Gibbes!

The Gibbes Education staff are excited for the opportunity to host our Summer Art Camp in the Museum after many years at satellite locations around town. After the renovations are complete, our first floor will include four studios for hands-on art classes, as well as our Artist in Residence program. We took a moment to chat with Janell Walker and Abby Stone, who will be sharing their knowledge and skills with campers this summer. Janell is a full time art teacher at North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary School, and Abby is a lead teacher for 3 and 4 year olds at O’Quinn Preschool in Mt. Pleasant.

We asked Abby and Janell how they integrate the arts into everyday lessons, or in Janell’s case, how she incorporates what the students are learning outside the art room.

JW: One of my strong points as an art teacher is meeting a student’s needs by establishing a personal understanding of each individual child. My objective is to improve student awareness of the arts; and to apply interdisciplinary-based lessons involving math, science, language arts, social studies, and multiculturalism.

AS: I am a firm believer that arts can improve and deepen any learning experience. Being a preschool teacher, I think I may have more opportunity than elementary or upper school teachers to integrate art into my lesson plans. For each unit, I implement activities that get students moving, building, gluing, cutting, drawing, painting, or sculpting. There are so many different types of learners so I make sure to provide ample opportunities for auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or any combination to get students engaged.

Gibbes Art Camp

What are your feelings on being the first summer camp inside the museum?

AS: I am really looking forward to teaching in the newly renovated space. We will have so many amenities to work with, be it the educational space itself, art exhibits, the Museum’s permanent collection, the gardens, or the technology available to us.

This summer, we are offering six themes for art campers. What can the kids expect to learn in these different sessions?

AS: Each week this summer has a great theme. The Coastal Creations week will be very hands on. We will use lots of materials found on the beach right here in Charleston. This will make it very relevant and engaging for the children.

JW: Yes. In this session, campers will also explore beach sensory bins, make sea glass mosaics, and print with real fish!

Campers who attend the Go Green session will learn the importance of recycling and all the amazing things that can be made out of recycled materials. We’ll make musical instruments, paper mâché masks, magazine collages, and found object sculptures.

The Art of Asia week will allow campers to create Japanese wood block prints, dye Indonesian batik, practice Chinese brush painting, and even put on their own Balinese shadow puppet show!

AS: My grandmother is a lifelong artist who has always had a great interest in Asian inspired art and I have definitely inherited some of her passion in that area. I am looking forward to making some really gorgeous prints, paintings, and puppets with the children.

JW: The Greats theme will focus on iconic artists like Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Warhol, and O’Keeffe among others, and Music, Movement, and Masterpieces campers will dance, sculpt, paint, write, and draw while listening to music from around the world.

AS: I am really excited about the Movement and Masterpieces week, too. I believe that art should be a whole body experience involving all of our senses and this week will really showcase that.

JW: Explorer campers will learn the basic techniques of art—painting, drawing, creating, and sculpting—while highlighting creativity and self-expression.

AS: I also plan on having sensory bins that correspond with the theme of each particular week. It’s going to be great!

Gibbes Art Camp

What do you want parents to know about sending their kids to Summer Art Camp?

JW: Our camp will be filled with new experiences that inspire campers. We will learn about the beautiful artworks in the Gibbes Museum by taking a tour of the galleries. Each week, children will study basic art skills and expand their artistic expression, style, and visual vocabulary. At the end of each week, campers will exhibit the work they have created for parents to come and see.

AS: Parents should be very excited about this summer at the Gibbes! Janell and I are both experienced teachers with strong art backgrounds so the little ones will be in good hands. Each week, campers will be exposed to many different types of art, materials, and artists… Not to mention the amazing new space we will have to learn in!

Gibbes Art Camp

What do you hope the campers will take away from their experience at Summer Art Camp?
JW: Whether or not campers consider themselves artists, each course will help them grow and gain confidence. All session will include playing, learning, experimenting, and expanding horizons through the experience and pleasure of creating art.
AS: Campers should be excited because it’s going to be a hands on, fun filled, movin’ and shakin’ summer! We will dance, paint, carve, sculpt, sing, touch, glue, cut, and create.

Summer Art Camp sessions are filling quickly! The Gibbes Gator
Download a 2016 registration form or call 843.722.2706 x237/email with any questions.

Summer Camp at the Gibbes, an Intern’s Point of View

As a fine arts major at the University of Florida, I wanted to spend my summer introducing others to something I love.  I was thrilled to accept the opportunity to come to Charleston and intern at the Gibbes Museum of Art’s summer camp. Working with Kristen Solecki and the various groups of children that come to camp has proved to be a rewarding experience. When I was a child, summer art camps and classes were a highlight of my summer, and it has been very fulfilling to be able to help young campers have a similar experience.

Summer Camp

Campers proudly displaying their artwork

Each week, a different theme provides the base from which our projects stem, and the young artists do an excellent job of creating a unique collection of work to present at the camp’s concluding art show. This past week, our theme was “Art through the Ages” and campers learned about artists such as Frida Kahlo and Vasily Kadinsky. They loved learning about the artists’ backgrounds and works, and were very eager to make their own versions of vibrant fruit collages and patterned abstract drawings. This eagerness to learn, create, and discover new media at such a young age has been what has impressed me the most throughout the course of camp. Campers enjoy discovering how they can mix their own paint colors and they attempt to make as many unique shades as possible.

George Washington

George Washington Bust

During our nature themed week, campers were able to sit by the windows to draw from the scenery and take walks outside to gather inspiration. Various leaves, flower petals, and pebbles were collected to make multimedia collages. Campers also got a taste of printmaking, learning how to roll ink onto their found objects and press them onto sheets of paper. They were surprised at all the details and unique patterns that appeared from these simple outside findings. Working with clay has been a big hit as well, as the children are excited to turn their ideas into 3D forms. Campers experimented with both the pinch and coil method to make little pots and cups to hold their collectables at home. “I can’t wait to show my mom and dad” has been a common phrase in the classroom. These young artists are proud and excited by what they’ve created and rightfully so!


Taylor helping with the campers

Taylor assisting campers

Once a week, campers get to take a trip across the street to the museum to explore and learn about the many great works it holds. They are always excited to find out that the George Washington bust was once buried beneath the ground and is now so pristine and restored for viewing. They also enjoy seeing paintings of historic Charleston and being able recognize sites they can still see today, such as the market and the battery. When their tour is over, many of the children even ask if they can come back to show their parents.

As I prepare to return back to school for my senior year, I will keep in mind the eagerness of our young campers and remember to keep that enthusiasm and fasciation alive in my own work.

Taylor Adams, Summer Intern and Guest Blogger

Summer Camp at the Gibbes!

According to the Arts Education Partnership which was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education, every young person in America deserves a complete and competitive education that includes the arts. As the country becomes more diverse, the world more interconnected, and the workplace more oriented around technology and creativity, arts education is key to ensuring students’ success in school, work and life.

summer camp masks

Creative and colorful masks!

That’s why art education is central to the mission of the Gibbes Museum of Art. The museum offers a wide variety of educational opportunities throughout the year, and when school is out for the summer, we host six weeks of camp. This is one of my favorite times of the year because the campers are so excited to learn, and watching them engage with the art reminds me of the value of arts education.

Each camp session includes artist demonstrations, hands-on, and take-home projects using many different mediums and materials. This summer the themes include All About Animals, Exploring Nature, and Art Through the Ages for ages 4-12. Local artist Kristen Solecki has taught summer camp sessions for two years and works to impart her expertise to budding artists.

summer camp masks

Creative campers posing with their masks!

“This week at camp was all about animals! We learned about animal structure and anatomy as well as how to sketch and create our own animals. We started off the week with relief printmaking. We learned about printing editions, types of ink, and the effects of various types of mark making. On Tuesday, we created large scale 16×20 inch animal paintings on watercolor paper using acrylic paints and charcoal. We learned about drawing with gesture and the detail that goes into large scale work. On Wednesday, we started a two day project: sculpting animals using air dry clay. We learned about the coil method and how to stabilize this medium using different tools. On Friday, we are learning about the sgrafico method. We painted wood birch panels and coated them using oil pastels. We used stylus to scratch away our drawings,” explains Solecki.

summer campers

Summer campers deep in concentration!

Campers visit the museum galleries at least once during the week to learn about artwork from both the permanent collection, and the special exhibitions John Westmark: Narratives and Beyond the Darkroom: Photography in the 21st Century. Parents are invited to an art show every Friday to view the camper’s collection of work from the week and are encouraged to visit the museum at their leisure. Camp will end August 8, and currently that is the only week remaining with a few openings!

Rebecca Sailor, Curator of Education

To register, please visit or call Rebecca Sailor at 843.722.2706 x41

Schools Out! Summer Camp is In!

The Dutch Wives, 1977, by Jasper Johns

The Dutch Wives, 1977, by Jasper Johns

I am so excited to be teaching the summer camp at the Gibbes Museum this year! Our goal this summer is to experience several different kinds of art making using new techniques and media. The campers will create art taking inspiration from the works by many fine artists at the Gibbes Museum. We will spend one week-long session learning about printmaking, using methods that are hundreds of years old. Another session will focus on exploring the world of Modern Art. We will use paints, resists, and mixed media in new ways inspired by the works of artists like Jasper Johns and Jill Hooper. Our last camp session is all about the Sea. We will make our own 3-D underwater creatures, illustrations, and learn how to create a landscape.

Summer campers hard at work.

Summer campers hard at work.

Sea Turtle, 1929, by Anna Heyward Taylor

Sea Turtle, 1929, by Anna Heyward Taylor

I work full time as an illustrator and artist, but when I am not in my studio I teach. I have been teaching workshops and private art classes for over six years. It is wonderful to be able to share the passion for what I do with others and to work in a group where students and I can inspire one another with our ideas. I love to see my younger students gain confidence through their work and see what they create with the techniques we have learned. We are looking forward to a terrific camp!

Kristen Solecki, teaching artist and guest blogger

To learn more about Summer Art Camp and register for upcoming sessions, download our camp brochure PDF or contact Rebecca Sailor at or 843.722.2706 x41.