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Students at art camps urged to find their styles

Students of all ages have the opportunity to show their creative side at various art camps, which are being hosted by the Lower Alabama Arts Center this summer.

This week, each day from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., there will be an art camp for ages 6-12, which will be taught by Joy Sowards and Suzanne Walker. The theme of that camp is “I’m A Work of Art,” and it will feature not only art projects but also music and drama. The cost for the weeklong camp is $60 per child.

In July, the LAAC will host a summer theatre camp, which will be directed by Paula Sue Duebelt. Students will prepare and present “Schoolhouse Rock,” a Broadway Jr. Production — the performance date will be announced in the future. The camp will be July 13-17 and July 20-24, with classes each day from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The summer theatre camp is $60 per child.

This past week, Walker hosted the pre-K arts camp (ages 4-5), where students participated in a variety of projects, including making life size self-portraits with paint, yarn and other materials.

“We want the kids to have a chance to pull out their creativity and be free to create whatever they’d like,” Walker said. “There’s no right way or wrong way in art; they are free to have their own style.”

Thursday morning, the students in Walker’s camp were busy painting poster-sized portraits of themselves. After completing the paintings, they then hot-glued (with Walker’s help, of course!) on yarn for hair, sequins for eyes and other accessories.

Bailey Lewis, 5, even added a real pendant to her self-portrait.

“Sometimes I color at home and sometimes I get to play with Play-Doh, but I don’t paint much,” Bailey said. “I’m having a real fun time at camp.”

Bailey’s portrait included a blue dress with a variety of colored polka dots, and she said the idea of the outfit came mostly from her imagination.

“I have a dress at home that’s blue, but it doesn’t have polka dots like this one,” she said.

Walker said she was impressed by the effort put forth by her young students.

“To be as young as they are, I’ve been really impressed with how much they’ve been focused and how hard they’ve worked,” she said. “The other day we were in the middle of a project, and we suddenly looked up and it was time for the camp to end. We were having so much fun we didn’t even realize how fast time was going.”

Walker added that she wants her students to learn something at camp, but not feel like they are at school where there is only one answer.

“In school, you’re always being told the answer and you have to repeat it back in the exact same way,” she said. “Here, when we tell the kids about a particular artistic technique, we don’t want them to think that’s the only way to do it. We want them to not worry about doing things the ‘right way’ and just open up and express who they are.”

Spaces are still available for upcoming camps. For more information, call the LAAC at 222-3205 or visit at 513-A E. Three Notch St. in Andalusia.