While friends of mine who teach in traditional learning environments wind down their school year, I begin to brace myself for the summer ahead. I alter my social media settings to avoid seeing too many mid-day pool parties and I begin to set my alarm clock a little earlier. For a museum educator there is no such thing as a summer break. And it’s worth it. All summer long, Joslyn’s studios are filled with young people who want to learn to make art like an artist, and that’s better than a sun burn any day.
While Joslyn offers classes year-round for students of all ages, summertime is when things really get bustling. In addition to our standard weekend and evening classes, we fill the studios with camps for pre-school students to teens, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Joslyn art camps are a special way for students to experience the Museum. They get to spend an entire week exploring the galleries and working with their instructor to complete projects that engage them in the creative experience and produce artworks that will certainly have a life beyond the fridge. Because camps provide an extended amount of time for students to think about an artistic challenge and build upon their ideas, summertime offers our instructors the opportunity to try new things, experiment with new materials, and to think big. Joslyn instructors take care to develop lessons that emphasize the creative process – which means campers learn that a sketch can be just as important as the finished work of art and the first idea is not always the best idea.
Joslyn camps are not all “child’s play.” Things can get serious for our teen campers (but never too serious). Joslyn is lucky to have a partnership that allows our teens to use the studios at Creighton University’s Lied Education Center for the Arts in the summer. This special opportunity gives high school students a chance to get a glimpse of what a college studio course is like and encourages them to take their work seriously. Teen ca mps are a terrific way for high school students to add to a portfolio, work with materials that may be unavailable to them otherwise, and meet other students from across the city who have similar interests.
My daydreams of cannonballs and poolside snow cones completely disappear at the end of the week when campers select their favorite art works to put in a Friday exhibition. After a long week, campers beam with pride as they mingle like artists at a gallery opening and answer questions from their family about what inspired them to make such beautiful things.
Studio Programs Manager
Wonderful blog post! I run a summer art camp for kids as well as a 1-week Adult Art Camp at a small community art center in Maine. It IS hard to skip the lake and beach (we have a very short summer), but the energy of the kids and their enthusiasm as they exclaim, “I Love Art!” makes it worth it. Thanks for reminding me! Good luck with your summer art!