Photo: Students blend chalk to create art, modeled after the koala or panda bear portraits provided as a template in their art class at the Gadsden Museum of Art during art camp in July. (Courtesy of Jill Edwards, Gadsden Museum of Art)
By Emma Kirkemier, News Editor
The Gadsden Museum of Art recently hosted its annual art camp, inviting area students to practice hands-on learning about art.
According to museum Director and Curator Ray Wetzel, the museum held six camps, each one week long and featuring nine different art classes.
Education and Outreach Coordinator Jill Edwards said this year’s camps were a success. The program was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is now back in full force.
Art camp enrollment totaled 160 students this summer, Wetzel said.
Andi Chupp, an 8-year-old student at Saint James Catholic School and Gadsden local, attended art camp during the last week of July and said she had fun.
Andi explained that she and other camp attendees got to work on several projects throughout the week. She showed off her self-portrait as an example, the medium pastels on paper.
Students worked with paint, pastels, marker and more during the provided lessons to create their own artwork. At the end of the week, they were featured in their very own art showings.
The common templates students followed included an acrylic painting on canvas of the Statue of Liberty, a pencil drawing of a penguin against a watercolor sky, a koala done in chalk, a self-portrait, a few free-form clay creatures, a vase of flowers formed from tissue paper, a colorful sea of fish and a paper standee bearing each student’s name, decorated as they wished.
Each student’s art, though using the same theme and instruction, was different in style. All art done throughout each week was displayed on tables each Friday, one table per student, and marked with their names for parents and visitors to browse.
Andi proudly announced that her clay sculpture was a horse, inspired by her love for the animals and her experience horseback riding.
When asked to pick her favorite artwork, Andi could not choose. However, she was particularly interested in the several watercolor works. She described the process of dabbling paint into water on a page to create her penguin’s colorful backdrop. Watching the paint spread through the water, she said, “was like fireworks.”
Andi used a similar technique for her school of fish, sprinkling salt onto the wet watercolor paint to an effect that mimicked real bodies of saltwater.
“It’s like you can see the current in the ocean,” Andi said.
She also enjoyed working with oil pastels, even using watercolor paint to contrast its texture for her self-portrait. The water-based paint refused to mix with the oil pastel, creating a separate texture and effect for the background.
Working with pastels was messy, according to Andi, but she liked using them to blend together. Andi recommended using baby wipes to remove both paint and oil pastel from one’s hands.
Andi’s mother Teri noted that Andi placed second in a county-wide art contest back in May, but art camp would “help prepare her a little more” for next year’s entry.
Wetzel noted that the museum raised $16,000 over the span of art camp, each student paying a $100 fee that included their art supplies and a T-shirt.
The dates for next year’s art camp will likely be announced around March 2023.
Pictured above is a table from an art camp exhibition at Gadsden Museum of Art on July 29. (Teri Chupp/Messenger)
Pictured above, Andi Chupp shows off her self-portrait, depicting Andi and her two cats, Daisy and Tommy. (Teri Chupp/Messenger)