Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
Officials in charge of the annual Arts Clayton summer camps were all but singing a refrain of "Come and get it while it's hot," recently, while talking about camp registration.
But, that old adage may be words to live by as spots in the camps have already proven themselves to be in demand this year.
Arts Clayton will hold its 18th annual Kaleidoscope Summer Arts Camp, and its sixth annual Young Teen Camp this summer. The camps, which often draw large numbers of children from Clayton and Henry counties, is a place where the youths can channel their inner Van Goghs and Picassos.
If they sign up quickly, that is.
Camp Administrator Elizabeth Gower said approximately one-quarter of the 175 available slots in the camps this year were already filled up before flyers advertising them were distributed at local schools last week.
"Registration is first come, first served," Gower said. "They [the camp classes] typically fill up quickly, so if they want their first choice for [at least] the Kaleidoscope camp, then, they need to register right away, rather than waiting to do it later."
The two arts camps will be held simultaneously, from June 6, to June 17, at J.W. Arnold Elementary School, which is located at 216 Stockbridge Road, in Jonesboro. They are scheduled to end with a visual arts gallery show, featuring artwork made by camp participants, and a musical performance, on June 17, according to the Arts Clayton web site.
The camps offer students a variety of performing-and visual-arts classes, including singing, acting, orchestra, dance, painting, drawing, clay/pottery, ceramics, and cartooning.
"We like to think of it as an exploratory term for them," said Camp Director JoAnn Maples, who is also the music teacher at Arnold Elementary. "They get an experience. They chose a visual art emphasis ... and they get to chose one performing art as an emphasis. And then, the next year, we try to encourage them to do something different."
Gower said the Kaleidoscope camp is designed for children who will be in the first-through sixth-grades during the 2011-2012 school year, while the Young Teen Camp is designed for rising seventh-through ninth-graders. The kaleidoscope camp will cost $180 per child (the cost covers a visual arts class, and a performing arts class), while the teen-camp classes range in price from $200, to $240 per class.
"This year's theme is going to be 'Update Earth: Kids Rock the World for the Environment,' so every class is going to focus on recycling, reusing and re-purposing the Earth," Gower said.
Maples said there are some new classes at each camp this year, including a 3-D sculpture class for the Kaleidoscope camp, and vocal instruction, digital photography, and fashion-and fiber-arts classes for the teen camp.
Maples and Gower described the fashion class as something not too dissimilar from the TV show "Project Runway," with class participants making fashion accessories out of everyday items. "They're going to take newspapers and create jewelry, and that kind of thing," Maples said.
Virtually all of the camp's classes, she said, will be taught by local, certified art and music teachers. "We strived to have certified teachers this last year, and it was great," she said. "We used just about, almost exclusively, certified teachers, so we really upped the quality of the instruction."
To sign up for the arts camps, registration forms can be picked up at the Arts Clayton Gallery, which is located at 136 South Main Street, in Jonesboro, or by logging onto www.artsclayton.org/. There are also "needs-based" scholarships available for families to apply for, if the price of the camp will be difficult to afford, Gower said. For more information, call (770) 473-5457.