I've been sending my children to the Arts Camp in Southwest Louisiana for the past four years. The camp is held during the first month of summer, beginning the first week that school lets out for break. It's turned into something that they both really look forward to each year, counting down the days as school ends and art camp begins.
For the last two years the camp has been held on the campus of the Lake Charles Boston Academy for Learning. It is a much larger facility than in years past. As a parent of participating children, I think the move to this facility was smart, and I take it as a sign that the Camp has grown.
Each year, on the final day of camp, they hold an open-house event for everyone in the community to come and enjoy the campers' work on display. This year the bulk of the work was displayed in the campus gymnasium, which made the viewing experience all the more enjoyable.
It was really nice to see the large crowd come out. When you see the parents, families and children all gathered in one place to see their individual camper's work you really get a sense that there is something special happening with this program.
They had a nice refreshments area at the event last night. I saw this sign at the station, and it was then that I realized the camp had been around for 30 years. What an accomplishment!
In the same area, there was a display of 30 years of Arts Camp t-shirts. A t-shirt can be a small thing, but when you see them collected in one place like this you realize that you and your children are a part of something special. There is history there.
I'm always excited each year to hear about my childrens' projects. They really seem to get into them, and I love the way they share the details when they get home. It's always such a treat to finally see their work. What they share with their words paints a mental picture, and I find that what I see in my minds-eye is never quite correct.
I usually sign my daughter up for cartooning and drawing, since that seems to be where her strengths and interests lie. Right now, she's really into wolves and manga style art, so much of what she produced reflects those affinities.
Samples of Lily's Work
My son, seems to have a different set of interests. He loves making craft-art, so I try to get him in the classes that focus on building things, or making art from other objects.
Samples of Jonah's Work
I feel extremely blessed to live in a community that offers a summer program for children that is so enriching, and I am even more grateful that my livelihood provides me with the means to send them each year. It brings them so much joy each summer. It would be truly heartbreaking for me if I were not able to provide this for them.
I believe that the Southwest Louisiana Arts Camp helps my children express themselves creatively, helping them grow into more well rounded individuals. It teaches them to use their imagination, and shows them that if they can think of something in their mind then they can make it real with their tools and hands. This camp also teaches them that there is a large community of creative people out there with good hearts and kind spirits. To me this is the most important lesson of all.
Soon, my daughter will be too old to attend the camp, so I hope to see her stay involved by working as an assistant, eventually volunteering her time to teach, like many of the art campers from the past. I believe that teaching children to live well, be smart, be kind and utilize the creative aspects of their mind is truly holy work. If my children are motivated to take that path in life, then I'll give my bones to the wind without a fight.
As I browsed the plethora of art, several individual pieces and displays really stood out to me. Some were simply attractive because of color, others design, and some skill. There were many that simply made me smile.
I've done my best to clump these favorites together. I hope the young artists, assistants and instructors will forgive my titles.
"Under Sea Glass"
These faves are only a small sampling of the work that was on display. I took a lot of pictures of the works at the event, and have put them into the gallery below. Take a minute and treat yourself to the creative goodness that is the result of the 2010 Southwest Louisiana Arts Camp.