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.
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!
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!
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.