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Summer Fun with the Littlest Artists

Gibbes Summer Art Camp

Summer Art Camp at the Gibbes is in full swing, and the campers are diving into projects and relishing the behind-the-scenes tours and “celebrity guest” visitors that round out the activity-filled weeks. Our incredible summer camp teachers Abby Stone and Janell Walker are back for their second year and are as excited as the campers for all that’s in store. They took a few moments from their busy days to chat with Rebecca Sailor, curator of education, about what they love about summer camp.

Rebecca Sailor: What made you want to teach summer camp (and for two summers in a row!)?
Janell: I wanted to teach camp because I really enjoy teaching art and making an impact on young students. I like to see them gain confidence.
Abby: I’m an artist and have always been an art enthusiast so being able to come to work in an art museum every day surrounded by beautiful art and people who appreciate it was extremely appealing. Secondly, I’m a classroom teacher during the year and get to see and reconnect with so many past students and their families at camp. I call the Gibbes my happy place!

Summer Camp teacher Abby Stone

Summer Camp teacher Abby Stone works with four to seven-year-old campers.

RS: What is your favorite part about summer camp?
JW: So many favorite parts! One is I look forward to meeting new young artists each week. Also, presenting the final works during the art show and seeing the parents face light up is great!
AS: My favorite part is seeing the awesome artwork my students create. Sometimes I have a project in mind and they’ll take it in a completely different direction. I really enjoy watching their creative processes and I’m continually impressed with what they come up with. I learn from them and am inspired by them.

Summer Camp teacher Janell Walker

Summer Camp teacher Janell Walker works with eight to twelve-year-old campers. Photo by MCG Photography.

RS: What do you hope the campers get out of coming to camp at the museum?
JW: I hope the campers understand the importance of art and how art can be fun. I want them to enjoy playing, experimenting, learning and understanding the importance of visual arts while creating their own masterpieces.
AS: By coming to the Gibbes, I hope my students get to experience and explore a variety of mediums and techniques that they might not have access to at school or home. I also hope they gain an appreciation for the time, skill, focus, and creativity it takes to be an artist. Most importantly, I hope they have fun and create beautiful artwork they are proud of!

Little artists at work in the Education Center classrooms.

Little artists at work in the Education Center classrooms. Photo by MCG Photography.

RS: How does this experience impact your own career?
JW: The experience impacts my own career by helping me understand the importance of what the students want and how to continue to come up with new experiences and create new ideas.
AS: This experience has been impactful because I am able to take ideas, crafts, and techniques from the museum and apply them to my school year classroom and vice versa. I’m a big proponent of integrating art and music into a curriculum and the Gibbes camps are a great opportunity to experiment and explore with new ideas. It’s a great base for becoming more involved in art education in the future.

RS: Thank you for making such an impact on these children for seven weeks! You both are awesome and I’m glad to have you as part of my team.

Top image: Campers get outside and enjoy the sunshine in the Lenhardt Garden during a break. Photo by MCG Photography.

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