any children who attend art camp at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour like it so much that they beg their parents to go back summer after summer.

From drawing, painting and making craft projects to working with pottery and learning dance and movement, each weeklong day camp invites kids to experience new ways of being creative, using their imaginations and enjoying art.

This week was the second art camp of the season and revolved around the theme of “Create, Discover, Explore.” Last week’s theme was “Superheroes” to go along with the library’s summer reading program. Those two themes will be repeated during the next two weeks.

In the center’s upstairs art room Tuesday morning, instructor and artist Kay Fox explained how strips of colored construction paper and newspapers would be used to make a lion’s mane.

Story continues below gallery

The students quickly got to work gluing the paper to the edges of a paper plate. With the center cut out, the plates would become lion masks, which the kids will wear during a “Lion King” musical skit they perform for their parents Friday. Older students used wads of colored tissue paper for the lion manes.

The masks were just one of several craft projects kids were able to make during the week.

Titus Schrock, 6, of Seymour said he liked pottery the best of all the activities offered.

Each group of kids got to spend time daily in the arts center’s pottery barn, where they learned how to work with clay, use a potter’s wheel and paint their creations.

“We got to make anything we wanted, and I made a dragon,” he said.

Although he had painted premade clay pieces before, actually getting to make it with his own hands was a new experience.

“I had never done that part,” he said. “It’s so cool and messy.”

Titus said he has learned to love art so much that he wants to make it his career.

“I’m going to be an artist when I grow up because it’s so much fun,” he said.

But Fox said he didn’t have to wait that long.

“You’re already an artist,” she said.

Whether it’s crafts, pottery, drawing, painting or just coloring, art is good for all ages, Fox added.

“It improves motor skills and promotes creativity,” she said. “And it’s better than sitting at home all summer playing video games or watching TV.”

Creating something with their hands also gives children a sense of accomplishment, Fox added.

“It makes them feel good,” she said.

Instructor Ashley Wehmiller, a new elementary art teacher for Seymour Community School Corp., came up with projects to get campers excited to explore new things.

On Tuesday, her students finished up an African sunset silhouette painting, made on brightly colored tissue paper.

“We’re not focusing on the details of the animals but on the lines and shapes of the animals and trees,” she said.

Afterward, they got started drawing buildings and statues that have long been lost underwater. Once they finished the drawings, they would be using oil pastels to paint them and then watercolor paints to give it the underwater look.

In a sense, students were traveling around the world.

“I want them to experience different cultures and different types of art,” she said. “To feel like they are going on an adventure, seeing new things they have never seen or heard before.”

One project planned for the week included using cut-up wallpaper to create mosaics similar to those in the ancient city of Pompeii.

Wehmiller said she hopes the students take their projects home to share with their families and treasure for years to come.

“We want them to remember art camp and how much fun they had,” she said.

Anna Fish, 7, of Seymour, said this year isn’t her first time at art camp.

“I came last year, too. It’s a lot of fun, and I like getting to make things,” she said.

Like many of the students, pottery was her favorite activity.

When given the chance to make anything she wanted with clay, Anna said she must have been hungry and thinking about food.

“I made a pottery taco,” she said, laughing.

Anna said she also enjoyed getting the opportunity to paint.

The first two weeks of the annual art camps were for younger children in preschool through second grade, and the next two weeks will be for students in grades 3 to 6. There are openings available for older campers to enroll. Cost is $55 for arts center members and $90 for nonmembers. The fee pays for all materials, instruction and a daily snack.

SICA director Darnell Dukes said enrollment is up this year.

“Last week, we had 44 kiddos, which was four over our capacity; and this week, we had 36 register,” Dukes said. “I think we did a much better job of getting the word out.”

Although most of this year’s campers are from Seymour and surrounding communities, Dukes said, there were a couple of out-of-towners.

“We have two kids from Madison this year,” she said.

The center also is working to offer more activities and programs for children in preschool and kindergarten throughout the year, not just during the summer, she added.

“That way, there is even more of a value for families to become SICA members,” she said.

SICA members receive advanced notification of happenings at the center and 20 percent discounts on all classes, art camps and other programs.

Dukes said the art camps help promote the center and create more awareness that it’s there and what it has to offer to the community.

But it’s the kids’ reactions after finishing a project that make it all worthwhile, she said.

“If you could just see the smiles on their faces,” she said. “That tells the whole story.”

At a glance

To enroll children in Grades 3 to 6 in art camp at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour, visit soinart.com to submit an application or call the center at 812-522-2278.

Weeklong camps run from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and involve painting, drawing, pottery, crafts, collage, dance and music.

Space is available for camp sessions June 15 through 19 and June 22 through 26.

Cost is $55 for SICA members and $90 for nonmembers.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.