This was the first week of summer camps here at Crystal Bridges, and today was the day when the kids get to show off their work at a gallery reception for their friends and family. Museum staff are invited, too, so I went to see what the campers had produced. Over cookies and lemonade, I got to see the artworks created during the week, and to observe the pride and excitement of the kids as they showed off their work to the visiting adults.
Did you attend an art camp in summer as a child? I did. I especially remember making cups and animals out of clay . It was so much fun to just let my imagination run free and make things! All the materials were there, the camp leaders showed us some of the ways we could work with them… and then we were turned loose to explore and create. That was more than 40 years ago. It just goes to show how those experiences make fond memories that last a lifetime.
Remember what it felt like to get so wrapped up in a creative project that you were completely absorbed? You can see evidence of that absorption in the work the children produce in camp. I have chosen a few to share with you.
One of the projects for the older kids (9- through 12-year-olds) this week was to imagine, design, and build a dream home. They started with white pencil on blue paper, creating their own “blueprints,” and then went on to construct their houses in 3D using cardboard, paper, and other materials.
Here’s a detail from one of their designs: in fact, a compound for a group of friends featuring indoor and outdoor pools, a 400-foot wall, secret rooms and forts, a creek and woods to explore, a soccer field, and what appears to be a holographic ninja training room. You can visit if you like, they’ve included a guest room.
Another dream house has an adventure theme, with jungle rooms, a special room for the family Golem, and a “Planttera room,” which I’m guessing is a garden based on the popular video game Terraria. There’s a guest room in this one, too, but you’d better be careful coming in, because the house is equipped with security traps.
The kids got to spend some time in the Chihuly exhibition, and then created artworks in a variety of media inspired by what they saw. Check out a couple of the “glass paintings” they made on self-standing Plexiglas photo frames.
Remember the sneak-peek we gave you earlier of the painted pot project? Well, it was the favorite activity of young Wes here:
He loved it so much, that he drew a picture of it in his notebook for the week:
And check out these amazing portraits the kids in the Pop Art camp produced this week!
Did you know that the photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz (husband of Georgia O’Keeffe) hosted exhibitions of children’s artworks in his New York gallery 291? He and many other early American Modernists were fascinated with the raw, flat quality of children’s drawings and paintings. Looking at the work of these young artists, I can appreciate the appeal.
Summer camps at Crystal Bridges continue through July. Click here for a list of upcoming open sessions. Would you like to come to summer camp, too? Crystal Bridges offers several hands-on artmaking classes for adults this summer, too! Check them out and re-ignite your inner creative child! Why let the kids have all the fun?