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Parent Nooz Camp Guide
Posted on March 21, 2018 | 11:51 a.m.

Young Artists Explore Self-Expression, Creativity at Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Summer Camps

Multi-media and ceramic summer camps for children ages 5-12 inspired by the works of art that are on show at the museum

Campers will learn a wide variety of art fundamentals, including drawing, painting, sculpting, color, and composition. Click to view larger
Campers will learn a wide variety of art fundamentals, including drawing, painting, sculpting, color, and composition. (Santa Barbara Museum of Art photo)

Source: Emmalia Sutherland | Special to Noozhawk

While it's hard to believe with all of this wet weather in Santa Barbara County, summer is on its way. Noozhawk is here to remind you that in only a few short months, school will be over.

Whether that makes you jump for joy, or consider year-round boarding school, we are here to help you get a jumpstart on the liveliest part of the year.  

In the second installment of our ParentNooz Camp Guide, Noozhawk got the chance to talk with Rachel Krieps, Manager of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art's Docent, School and Art Camp Prgorams. 

Santa Barbara Museum of Art 

Question: What is the name of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art's summer program and what is its mission?

Answer: Our camps are simply referred to as SBMA Art Camps. Our mission at the museum is to “Integrate art into the lives of people,” and at camp we do this because each theme is inspired by the museum’s permanent collection or special exhibitions. 

Q: Describe the activities involved in your camp or program.

A: The art on view each week of art camp has a different theme inspired by works of art that are currently on view at the museum. From this starting point, several art projects are planned for the week that focus on a progression of skills that are really engaging and emphasize the artistic experience. Although each day is essentially structured the same, lessons vary and we offer several opportunities throughout the day for relaxing and other non-art related activities such as reading, games, and playing outside. On the last day of the week, campers proudly exhibit their unique works of art in a show for their friends and family to come and see. Each camper's art truly reflects their personal interpretation of the art they were exposed to that week, and to me, their work is always as creative as it is beautiful. 

Q: How old do you need to be to participate?

A: We run two camps simultaneously during the summer, a multi-media camp as well as a camp devoted entirely to ceramics. We can accommodate ages 5-12 in our multi-media camps and ages 6-14 in our ceramics camps.

We also have a really fantastic Teaching Assistant Program. Local high school students ages 15-18 who are interested in art and working with children can come and earn their required community service hours in a fun and creative environment.

Q: When were SBMA camps first started? What was the inspiration for creating it?

SBMA Art Camps found a home when Katharine McCormick left a large residence to the museum in 1991. Through her extremely generous donation, along with another from Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree and her (late) husband, Lord Paul Ridley-Tree, the McCormick House at 1600 Santa Barbara St. was renovated and transformed into an offsite education facility. I believe this is approximately when the camp started, so realistically, the camp probably started 25 years ago! 

A: Although I can’t speak to the original reason for creating it, I can say at the moment the camp serves a need and a desire in our community for children to have the opportunity to create fine art; and in an extremely beautiful and tranquil environment.

Q: What goals do you have for kids participating?

A: Well of course our primary goal is that kids have fun! (I mean it is summer, after all)! In addition to a fun and memorable experience, we strive for kids to be exposed to an assortment of high-quality art materials while exploring a variety of art fundamentals such as drawing, painting, sculpting, color, and composition. Another vital goal is that children strengthen their art vocabulary and take away an appreciation for art history and the artistic process. Through our lessons, we hope students will accomplish these goals while also developing a sense of self-expression and personal ownership through creative expression.

Q: Describe what makes your program unique. 

Campers form strong and long lasting connections with peers and teaching artists, which helps foster a positive attitude towards the arts. Click to view larger
Campers form strong and long lasting connections with peers and teaching artists, which helps foster a positive attitude towards the arts.  (Santa Barbara Museum of Art photo)

A: Our camps are unique because they connect to original works of art. Not only are the camps inspired by the original works of art, the students get to visit the museum for a field trip to see them up close and personal. That alone, I think, make the camps valuable. However, I also think our camp is unique because of the comradery it creates. In just a week, we are able to create a community of young artists who are able to build lasting relationships.

Children might make a connection with one of our teaching artists and then see them again at the museum for our Studio Sundays on the front steps, Family First Thursdays, or even a program at their school. Or it might be a new friendship they made with another student who was visiting from another state or country, or even just another school here in town. Whatever the case, our camps really seem to foster these special relationships.

Q: What is the best part, in your opinion, about your camp or program?

A: I’d have to say the best part about our programs are the strong and long lasting relationships we build through our (spring and summer) camps. Often times, our camps are the first point of access to the museum for many families. By nurturing our relationships with families, we have the great honor of creating a love for the Museum, and are able to introduce the families to the other amazing programs and opportunities we offer at the Museum.

On a heartfelt personal note, nothing is more gratifying than a child running through the door of the museum or even seeing you somewhere completely unrelated, shouting your name and giving you a big smile or hug because they remember you from camp. That to me is the best part of our camp, and I feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment in creating a warm and welcoming environment.

Q: Describe a favorite activity. 

A: Probably working with clay, especially in our ceramics camp! It is such a popular camp and always sells out, and I really think that has to do with the medium itself. There is something so gratifying and almost therapeutic in working with the clay. It is definitely a fan favorite!

Q: In what ways is the program educational?

A: The very philosophy of our camp is educational, as we are connecting our lessons to the original works of art and their associated cultural history. Our lessons incorporate Visual Thinking Strategies, which foster higher order thinking such as enhanced communication, visual literacy skills, problem solving, and critical thinking. All of these skills can be applied across curriculum areas in school, but also help to develop temperaments that promote self-disciple, resourcefulness, and awareness. Furthermore, these skills allow children to look carefully and observe detail. They provide children with the ability to question, envision, and explore alternative possibilities, and encourage a willingness to consider other perspectives and self-reflection. Essentially, children are developing life-long, analytical skills that they can apply to many areas of their life. I also think our camp is educational because art allows children the opportunity to turn mistakes into creative opportunities. 

Q: What else should parents know when deciding whether to send their kids to your camp or program?

A: In addition to the many educational benefits our camp offers, it takes place in a big, beautiful house, our offsite educational facility, The Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House. The facility is located in a safe and quiet neighborhood, directly across from Alice Keck Park (park); which lends itself as a mecca for additional exploration and inspiration and on occasion, a peaceful and playful place for our lunch break. Our camp values diversity and exemplifies positivity, patience, flexibility, and empathy.

When there is a connection with our theme, we often partner with other local organizations who will visit our camp to give a demonstration or enrichment experience for the children. We also partner with several other organizations, schools, and individuals to provide scholarships for children in need and when possible, we offer extended (after camp) care. 

Q: What is the cost/tuition? Are scholarships available?

A: Multi-media: member: $250, non-member: $300. Ceramics: member: $300, non-member: $350. Yes, scholarships are available!

For more information about the SBMA Art Camps, please click here.

The ceramics camp is fan favorite and usually sells out. Click to view larger
The ceramics camp is fan favorite and usually sells out. (Santa Barbara Museum of Art photo)

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