By Joel Hall
Arts Clayton, in Jonesboro, is giving elementary and middle school students the chance to hone their artistic skills, and discover new ones.
Starting Monday, the art gallery will host its 17th Kaleidoscope Summer Arts Camp, and its fifth Young Teen Camp.
The annual camps, which will take place weekdays at Suder Elementary School between June 7 and June 18, will give elementary students a chance to dabble in various visual and performing art forms, and allow emerging middle school artists a chance to fine-tune their craft in three-dimensional art and sculpture, ceramics, drawing and acrylic painting.
According to Camp Administrator Elizabeth Gower, the Kaleidoscope Summer Arts Camp is a long-running program of Arts Clayton, offered to children entering first- through sixth-grades. She said the camp places each child in one visual art course, and one performance art course, in order to "light a spark" about the arts in general.
"It's to expose children to all facets of art, both visual and performing, so we can inspire them," Gower said. "The idea is to expose them to lots of different things, so they want to continue this. Sometimes you get children who are very gifted in one area. If they are talented in the visual arts, they might not know they are talented in performing, and vice versa. By exposing them to many different things, they get to learn all of their talents."
This year, according to Gower, the Kaleidoscope camp will offer classes in drawing, painting, photography and sculpture, in the area of visual arts. There will be singing, dancing, acting and recorder flute classes in the area of performing arts. She said children will be able to work one-on-one with artists, choreographers and certified teachers in classes no larger than 15 students.
At the conclusion of the Kaleidoscope camp, on June 18 at 6 p.m., all campers will participate in a Grande Finale Musical Performance and Visual Art Show, at Suder Elementary. Students will display their final projects from their visual arts courses in a gallery-style setting, and participate in a live performance of "The Hero in Us All," a youth musical by husband-and-wife composers, Michael and Jill Gallina. It explores the roles of heroes in everyday life.
"'The Hero in Us All' is a really good message," said Camp Director and Arnold Elementary Music Specialist Joanne Maples. "They talk about community heroes, policemen, firemen, military heroes, sports heroes, as well as the heroes inside of us. There is some jazz, a little bit of rap, and then you have your ballads. They always add a little bit of humor, which is always fun. On the performing arts side, not only will they enhance their musical skills, singing, dancing, playing instruments ... but they will also gain an insight into the art, as well as into themselves."
The Young Teen Camp, which will run side by side with the Kaleidoscope camp, will focus specifically on the visual arts this year, according to Gower. She said teen campers will have even smaller classes in the following specialized subjects: three-dimensional art and sculpture, ceramics, drawing and acrylic painting.
Assisting instructors with campers will be teen interns from the Clayton County Public Schools Fine Arts Magnet School, as well as the Savannah College of Art and Design, Gower said.
"They get very specific with the topic they are studying," Gower said. "They are getting things that they might not be able to experience in middle or high school, especially with the ceramics. Being one of less than 10 students in a class, the teacher can work one-on-one with you, and help you discover your voice and your special skills as an artist."
Kaleidoscope campers will take courses between 8:30 a.m., and 12:15 p.m., Monday through Friday, while teen campers will have the option of individually-priced, one-week, two-hour-a-day courses on the topics of their choice.
Within the two-week camp period, teen campers will have the opportunity to participate in all four specialized courses, Gower said.
Registration for the two-week Kaleidoscope camp is $170 for Arts Clayton members and $175 for non-members. The fee includes instructions, supplies, one snack per day, and a T-shirt. Each one-week teen camp course is priced between $115 and $125, and includes a T-shirt, Gower said.
Space is still available for both camps, Gower said. For more information, visit www.artsclayton.org/camp or call (770) 473-5775.