Western–inspired camp draws young artists

Published 10:58 am Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thirteen children square dance across the floor in their summer art camp at the Shelby County Arts Council.

A giant beige tepee stands in one corner of the room, while another corner houses a large totem pole.

Chaps, saddles and cowboy hats lay scattered about.

The SCAC keeps children ages 5–8 busy by creating art in their Wild, Wild West–themed camp.

Lynn Dodson, a teacher at SCAC for four years, teaches the children how to recreate paintings by Frederick Remington and Florence Upson Young.

“You’d be surprised how well the kids do,” Dodson said.

Dodson chose these artists because of their western–influenced art. She will be working with clay and has taught the children how to make spirit sticks and apache scrolls depicting Indian stories with symbols. The children also received a lesson on primary and secondary colors.

A music teacher is coming in to teach the kids “Home on the Range” and they will beat their drums to the song.

“We try to teach, but have fun too,” Dodson said.

Dodson made the tepee that stands in the main room. She said the kids have been excited about the Wild, Wild West theme. Some have even come to class wearing western clothing.

However, teaching 13 rambunctious children the basics of art can require some patience.

“I couldn’t do this by myself,” Dodson said.

But the huge grin on her face proves she loves every minute of it.

Edna Sealy also teaches at SCAC, and said she has enjoyed this year’s camp.

“My favorite part about this job is watching them get excited,” Sealy said.

Sealy taught them how complementary colors can come together to form a good painting. She encouraged the children to explore their own unique style by using different brush strokes and techniques.

“They all went about it in a different way,” Sealy said.

Holli Argo, a bookkeeper at the SCAC, enrolled her daughter, Jenna, in the camp.

“She loves it here,” Argo said. “This is a fun place to be.”

Argo said the SCAC is a place people of all ages can enjoy.

“We have all kinds of things open to children and adults,” Argo said.

Most art classes for children and adults begin in September. Two new classes have been added to the schedule.

Susan Dennis, the Arts and Education Director, says the Arts Council wanted to have as many classes as they could.

“We have a class for everybody– anything from jewelry making to pottery,” Dennis said.

Summer camp for 5–8- year- olds will wrap up July 24 with an open house party at 11 a.m. All of the children’s art will be displayed at the open house.

Camp for kids aged 9-12 begins Monday, July 27.

If you are interested in registering for adult art classes in August or September, call 669-0044 for more information.