Youngsters get creative at Arts Clayton camp

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Curt Yeomans


For Ariana Butler, of Stockbridge, the reason why she is enjoying herself at Arts Clayton's Kaleidoscope Summer Arts Camp is a bit messy.

This is the first year Butler, 10, has participated in the annual arts camp, and she has taken a particular interest in her sculpting class, where she was making a clay replica of a maraca on Friday. Her hands were turning gray from all the clay that was accumulating on them.

As the clay dried, her hands were covered. "I like this camp, because we get to get our hands dirty," she said.

Butler is one of 110 local children participating in the Kaleidoscope camp, or Arts Clayton's Young Teen Camp, according to Camp Administrator Elizabeth Gower. The camps, which are being held at Suder Elementary School in Jonesboro, ended their first week, on Friday, and are heading into their second -- and final -- week.

Gower said the Kaleidoscope camp will culminate in a musical performance and art-gallery show on June 18, at 6 p.m., at Suder Elementary School, which is located at 1400 Jodeco Road.

She said that since "Heroes" are being celebrated at the camp this year, police officers, sheriff's deputies, firefighters, and military personnel will be recognized at the performance.

During the camps, local youngsters participate in one visual arts class and one performing arts class. So, as one walks down the hallway at Suder, he or she can see children singing in one room, while other youths are dancing next door. Down the hall, still others are painting pictures of themselves as superheros, or making clay sculptures of people, animals, and even of fast food.

This year, the camp has attracted children, mainly from Clayton, Henry, Fayette and DeKalb counties, but also from as far away as Savannah, according to Gower.

"We want to expose these kids to the arts, and to expose them to their own artistic spark inside them," Gower said.

Each year, the musical performance draws large crowds of people, most of whom are parents or siblings of arts-camp participants. This year, as in years past, the grand finale will feature the kaleidoscope participants showing off their acting chops, dancing skills and vocal skills, according to the camp administrator.

For many of the children, some of whom have been participating in the Kaleidoscope camps for three, four, or more years, the performing aspect of the camp -- particularly the acting part -- is what is most exciting.

"I like acting, because, when I grow up, I want to be an actress," said Imani Roundtree, 10, of Jonesboro.

"I like getting to act, and getting to play pretend, too," said fellow Jonesboro youth, Nyani Jones, 10. This is Jones' first year at the camp. "I'm enjoying this. It's fun, because we do a lot of things, and we get to be creative at the same time."