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Beyond Arts & Crafts: An Instructor's View of Summer Art Camp

Katie Truk discusses why she enjoys teaching at the Art Center's kids' summer art camp.

With our Kids’ and Teen Art Camps to start on July 9, I wondered what makes the Art Center’s summer programs special. I posed some questions to instructor Katie Truk, who has taught at our summer camp for several years now.

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What is the difference between arts and crafts and art camp?

Ah, the old question of what is the difference between craft and art. Is there any, really? Okay, are you asking me what is the difference between sitting with your kids in the living room stringing macaroni noodle necklaces and talking about perspective, tints, tones and shades at art camp? Though I can get behind the craftsmanship of an intricate and inventive lanyard, art camp is an introduction and almost crash course at several different materials, with funny teachers all wrapped together. I sat around our kitchen table doing arts and crafts with my mom, and let me tell you it was no fun. Sorry, Mom.

How is teaching summer art camp different from teaching regular classes?

During the year we see the students once a week during art classes. They can grow or completely forget concepts we were talking about due to the amount of time that goes between teaching ten classes. With art camp, however, the time zooms by! Almost too fast.  Imagine nine classrooms of children who really get into art and want to paint and draw all day long. Since students see three different teachers in one day, they will be exposed to three different ways of expressing themselves. That's a really cool thing. I mean, not everyone can handle my loud, energetic voice ALL day long. 

What is the funniest moment you can recall from teaching summer art camp?

I get so much joy from the different personalities that come through camp. To pick just one specific day is very difficult.  If I have to pick something, hmmmmm, during the last week of camp, all the teachers and counselors get dressed up with different themes each day. That week always cracks me up. I mean people get REALLY into it. Reality television-worthy into it. It's awesome.

What was your favorite camp project?

The creativity of our teaching staff blows my mind! Last year we made bugs out of recycled materials. One student made the most amazing teeth out of toothpicks (see image). I loved seeing the imagination and ingenuity. Raw fearlessness. It's what most artists crave to get back. 

Do you have a new project in mind for this year’s camp?

Do I? Heck, yes!  But you think I am going to tell you now? No way! You'll just have to come and see! Super exciting!

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Now I’m really curious. See you at camp.  

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