Entering the Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House bursting with energy, Santa Barbara Museum of Art ArtVenture campers start each day excited about the art they will be creating.
Enrolled in classes that range from sculpture and techniques in 3D to creative cartoons, this year’s campers are inspired to get their hands dirty and test the limits of their imaginations. The opportunity to express themselves in ArtVenture’s imaginative camp environment ignites children’s passion for art at a young age. Behind this inspiration is the careful planning of dedicated and talented teachers and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s commitment to bringing art into the lives of youth in our community.
According to the museum’s website, ArtVenture Camp teaching artists are an “exceptional team” that include “painters and sculptors, a children’s book illustrator, a ceramicist, a graphic designer and an art historian who are all experienced art educators.”
Zoe, an 11-year-old camper, described her instructors’ teaching methods for Noozhawk.
“They give you inside tips,” she said. “They don’t just tell you how to do it ... I learned that you do not need to make something look exactly the way it’s supposed to for it to be good.”
The mother of 9-year-old Julia credited her daughter’s teacher for having an immediate impact.
“Julia sometimes has a tendency to say negative things about herself, like ‘I’m not a good artist’ or ‘This is bad,’” she said. “But this week her art teacher made her write down something positive like ‘It’s OK to make mistakes’ every time she said something like this.
“This has helped her take pride in her artwork and improved her self-confidence. I was very impressed with the teacher for doing this.”
In addition to benefiting from these teachers, ArtVenture campers get an insider’s tour of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St. They study, discuss and sketch artwork relating to the theme of their camp session. For many of the children who attend ArtVenture Camps, this is their first time in an art museum.
According to the ArtVenture Camp program manager, Rachael Krieps, “The Santa Barbara Art Museum has always been focused on bringing art into the community. With art offered less and less in schools, we are a resource for integrating art into the lives of children.”
ArtVenture Camp is an opportunity for children ages 5-14 — regardless of any previous experience — to be immersed in art in a way they never have been before. In addition to discovering the jewel of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, students learn to see art everywhere. They sketch architecture in town, plants in public parks, and explore Santa Barbara’s public library. Their eyes are opened to seeing art in places they might not have thought to look before.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art ArtVenture Camps take place at the Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House, 1600 Santa Barbara St. The camps run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Sessions run weekly through Aug. 15.
Thanks to the support of Montecito Bank & Trust, the Ridley-Tree Foundation, Wright Trust and the Ed Center Scholarship Fund, a number of scholarships are available. Krieps explained that 15 percent of ArtVenture campers are awarded financial assistance.
Each session ends with an exhibition of the children’s art. At this exhibition, the campers demonstrate immense pride and a sense of achievement in their work when parents, siblings, grandparents and friends come for an “art opening.” It is in this moment, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s commitment to enriching the lives of children in our community is most evident.