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Summer art camp at the Gibbes

The summer of 2009, I began directing our summer camp program. The Gibbes school building, which is now Husk Restaurant, was for sale. However, that did not mean we shouldn’t offer classes and especially summer camp! So, I began renting the classroom across the street at Circular Congregational Church. For seven years we walked children to and fro each morning and afternoon across busy Meeting Street for six weeks of camp.

casting sea shells

Campers cast seashells in Plaster-of-Paris.

sea life drawings

Sea life drawings in the 8–12 year old classroom.

Here we are summer of 2016 and we have campers inside the newly renovated museum! For the first time ever! Never mind the noise from power drills and hammers as construction continues on the first floor. We have camp happening INSIDE the museum… not across the street, not in a separate building, but on the first floor. Besides getting some fresh air in the garden, children are within our walls seven hours of each day. The logistical aspects of camp are so much smoother and safer. And, because we are a museum camp, teachers can take the children into the galleries anytime they want to find inspiration or slide in an art-history lesson. This is not a new phenomenon, just extra special for the Gibbes. And, because we are THE art museum in Charleston it’s a one of a kind experience for these budding art lovers.

Gibbes Summer Art Camp

Campers enjoy painting during the Gibbes Summer Art Camp.

Campers with visiting artist Jill Hooper

Campers check out the studio of visiting artist Jill Hooper and learn about fresco painting.

One of our long time campers Maggie Wall told her mom after the first day that the new classrooms were so much better than last year and that she really liked the stools. Simple to some, but to me it was exactly what I needed to hear after years of planning for these classrooms. There is still more to be done to get the rooms 100% outfitted, but having children in our building will make anyone smile. They don’t know that trim needs to be painted or door shades are on back order. They’re just happy to have their hands on paintbrushes and we’re happy to have those hands in our classrooms!

Rebecca Sailor, Curator of Education, Gibbes Museum of Art

Published June 10, 2016

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