Photo by Curt Yeomans
Mariah Buchanan (second from right), an instructor in Arts Clayton’s summer arts camps, helps Jonesboro youth Ricky Davis make an abstract painting on Friday.
They’re just campers.
Yes, they’re art campers.
And, they’re singing, dancing, painting and sculpting in Jonesboro.
More than 100 local children are learning about “Interplanet Janet,” “Conjunction Junction,” “The Preamble” and potential legislative bills right now, while participating in Arts Clayton’s School House Rocks, Jr. Live-themed summer camps. There is a Kaleidoscope Summer Arts Camp for elementary-age children, and a Young Teen Camp for middle school-age children.
“I’m amazed at the imagination, creativity and talent of the children,” said Camp Administrator Elizabeth Gower. “The kids are very well behaved, and it’s just been a joy to have all of them. We’ve been learning a lot about respecting other people, and they have exuded respect for each other.”
The camp just finished up its first week on Friday, and is set to begin its second, and final, week on Monday, at James A. Jackson Elementary School, at 7711 Mt. Zion Blvd., in Jonesboro. The Kaleidoscope Camp is set to finish with a grand finale performance on June 15, at 6 p.m., at the school.
The Young Teen Camp participants are scheduled to do their own performance, and gallery opening, on June 18, at the Clayton County Board of Commissioners Office, located at 112 Smith Street, in Jonesboro. A start time for their performance has not yet been set, however, according to Gower.
So far, the children have spent much of their time participating in arts classes, but they do get time for other things as well, such as presentations by local police officers and firefighters.
On Friday, the Kaleidoscope participants were treated to a short performance by recent Clayton County Fine Arts Magnet High School graduate D’Andre Jermaine. He is a former camp intern who is about to go on tour to promote his self-titled debut album.
Participating youths said that while their classes can be messy, they are still enjoying themselves as they learn to act, and sing, and dance, and play instruments, and make sculptures and paintings.
“I like all the lines we get to do, and excitement of it all,” said Jonesboro youth Paul Ross, 8, during a break from learning his lines for a “Conjunction Junction” skit.
Another Jonesboro youth, Ricky Davis, 9, said his personal favorite is his drawing and painting class. “I just like creating new things,” he said.
One of the interns helping out in Davis’ drawing and painting class, McDonough teenager Savannah Brainard, 16, said she also felt inspired to get creative. She made a large set of wind chimes, from sticks, string and several small empty glass bottles that she filled with various items, ranging from rose petals, to paint, to glitter, to tissue paper.
“I saw the bottles and that was the first thing I thought of,” she said.
But, Forest Park teenager Maya Walters said she decided to take up sculpting for a variety of reasons. On the one hand, she wanted to do something new and interesting. On the other hand, she left it up to her mother to pick which class the teenager took. And, mom wanted to make sure her daughter made something visual, the youngster said.
“She said she wanted me to make her something she could show off at home, and so she signed me up for this,” Walters said. “I’m not going to complain about it though because I really like it.”