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.
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.
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!
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