For most of us, spring break is in the rear-view mirror, and with just a few more weeks until summer, the search is on for summer camp. We've worked hard creating our ParentNooz Camp Guide to aid you in finding the best local summer camps and programs for your child. 

Noozhawk took the chance to sit down with ArtStudio4Kids owner and teaching artist Geraldine Otte to learn about her art program. 

ArtStudio4Kids

Question: What is the name of your summer program and what is its mission?

Answer: Art Studio 4 Kids is a fun and enriching program that will educate, inspire and entertain creative young minds.

Q: Describe the activities involved in your art program?

A: Summer camps give us time to explore projects that take longer like paper mache, assemblage sculpture, sewing, air dry clay, weaving, tie-dye, batik, printmaking to name a few. Always included are mixed media drawing and painting projects that include learning about different famous artists, painting techniques and materials.

Each week will offer different projects, so that your young artist has the chance to attend more than one week and explore different projects, with a mix of open-ended and guided projects.

Each day we plan a well-paced line up of projects, involving a wide variety of materials, subjects and art principles. We might start with a paper mache project, continue with an assemblage of recycled materials and finish a marbled-paper project started the previous day. The last day, your young artist gets to take home his box filled with all his creations: we call it the treasure box!

Q: What is the age range for children to take part in your camp or program?

A: Ages 6 to 12, or first grade to sixth grade, are welcome.

At the end of each weekly session, students have a mini art show for parents to admire everyone’s creations. Each camper also gets to take home a ‘treasure box’ of what they created during the week.
At the end of each weekly session, students have a mini art show for parents to admire everyone's creations. Each camper also gets to take home a 'treasure box' of what they created during the week. (Art Studio 4 Kids photo)

Q: Who teaches the program?

A: Each session is led by me, Geraldine Otte. I'm the art specialist at Vieja Valley Elementary School.

Q: When was your program first started and what was the inspiration for creating it?

A: I started Art Studio 4 Kids two years ago, the summer of 2016. This summer camp was created as an extension to my teaching art year round at Vieja Valley Elementary School, K-6th grade. Summer camp gives us the luxury of time and the opportunity to explore bigger projects that we wouldn't be able to do during the school year.

It also gives each child the opportunity to explore at their pace and create very individual pieces of art. This is a very hands on and fun experience for kids who love art.

Q: What goals do you have for kids who particpate?

A: Having fun while creating really cool and unexpected pieces of art. Kids are exposed to the teachings of different masters and then create their own interpretation of the theme or project.

My goal is also to teach them about different techniques in every medium that we are exploring (clay, sewing, drawing, painting, sculpture, batik, paper mache) at their level. Since this is a mixed age art camp, raging from first to sixth grade, abilities are quite different. We all do the same projects, but the younger kids receive more help. I encourage self creativity and motivation and we all end up learning and getting inspired by the works of our other camp friends.

Q: Describe what makes it unique and worthwhile.

A: It is unique because I am there always and lead all camps as the teaching artist. I have amazing helpers in all camps, regardless of how many children sign up. The maximum enrollment is 18 children per camp. I emphasize quality for my choice of art materials and the same for the number of enrolled artists.

The camp has a good balance of art sessions and play time, so that kids also get a lot of outside time in the Vieja Valley playground. It is an incredible bonding experience to spend five days creating and also making friendships.

Snack and lunch time are outside and a combination of games and free play. At the end of the week, we have a mini art show where parents are invited to come and hear about the different projects created and admire everyone's creations. Your little camper gets to take home a "treasure box" with all their creations. Each session offers different projects and many campers sign up for more than one session.

Q: What is the best part in your opinion? 

A: I love seeing how children's creativity explodes with different projects. Also how they learn from each other seeing how everyone's art is different and amazing. They learn that art is not about being perfect, it is about exploring different things and doing your own thing... It is about doing. Children are the best artists, in my opinion, because they are so spontaneous and open to exploration.

Q: Describe a favorite activity for children.

A: One favorite project has been creating a sculpture using recycled materials from home. Children choose from a large selection of boxes, TP rolls, caps, rollers, cardboard pieces to assemble a creature. Once it is stable, we apply a paper mache layer and another the next day. They are then either painted with acrylics or tissue papered.

After they dry, we embellish with all kinds of cool stuff. They all come out imcredible and completely individual. This project is done over five days.

Q: In what ways is your camp educational?

A: We study and get inspired by the masters and also by contemporary artists. I like to show lots of visual input through slide shows, posters, connect art with literature through stories.

I also teach them about techniques and materials: watercolors, tempera, oil, pastels, acrylics, watercolor pencils, different papers, multimedia art, clay, sewing, assemblage sculpture.

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

A: Wear something that you don't mind getting paint on! We do have aprons, too!

Q: What is the cost/tuition?

A: The weekly cost is $295. 

Click here to sign-up or learn more about Art Studio 4 Kids.

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