Saturday, August 27

How I spent my summer vacation

 Summer vacation? Nope! I've spent the last few weeks of my summer running an arts camp in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia out of the community center. We've had about 50 kids each week. During the first week I helped the kids create sets and props for their Friday performance. This week I helped run a puppet class, but both weeks I was in charge of organizing the teachers and kids and keeping things running smoothly. The teachers came up with the projects they wanted to do with the kids, so I can't really take any credit for the resulting work here, other than perhaps helping to brainstorm options with the teachers. I was really happy with how that worked out this year- instead of planning every little project myself, this delegation gave the teachers more ownership and autonomy in the lessons. I had a great staff to work with, and they created fun art experiences for our kids. We gave the kids a lot of choice as well- they were able to select 2 out of 4 options for arts activities in the morning, and 2 out of 6 options for afternoon play activities.
The mosaic above and below was created by our 11-13 year old "junior counselors". They worked on an art project in the morning, played "reporters" to document the week of camp, and helped out with the kids in the afternoons. For their mosaic they used tiles and sculptures that never got picked up after our wintercamp activities last December. Their mosaic creates a frame for us to post signs or pictures in the future and it brightens up a very dull wall to greet passersby.
 We invited artist Matt Leines to do some jointed puppet-making with the kids. They are almost life-size characters that use brads to connect the limbs.
 The kids started by brainstorming character types, animals, and emotions. They then created their own characters combining several ideas together. Our younger group was very inspired by existing cartoon characters, but the older kids were very inventive.
 Our painting elective teacher, Natasha, had the kids do self-portraits in watercolor, a background/environment painting in tempera, and a large collaborative mural.
 The 5 and 6 year olds were learning a lot of different printmaking techniques. They did fingerprint characters, cardboard shape printing, and cut paper stencil printing, which were all combined in a group mural.
 Our sculpture elective teacher, Kelly, had the kids do air-dry clay realistic objects, and some found object sculptures as well. My favorite one was this "laptop computer" straight from the stone age.
 In action art, the kids made paintings with balls, toy cars, and toothbrushes as painting tools in Pollock-inspired pieces, mobiles with cut paper shapes, chalk drawing on the wall following music prompts, and a zen garden in our gravel-filled yard.
It's been a busy 2 weeks of art-making with kids. The schedule makes me commiserate with school teachers getting back into the swing of things. Hopefully it helps the kids get back into a school frame of mind too.
One more week left- we're supposed to be taking lots of trips. Right now we're waiting out a hurricane.

No comments:

Post a Comment