A group of schoolchildren has been spending mornings this week learning a little bit about different art forms and traveling around across Europe — without leaving Seymour — at the same time.

It’s all part of Southern Indiana Center for the Arts’ Passport Across Europe summer camps for children.

Adding a European theme this year was just a way to teach those attending the camps, which will continue through the first of July, about more than just art, executive director Darnell Dukes said.

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“Yesterday, we talked about London and Trafalgar Square,” she said as she worked with a group in the pottery barn Tuesday morning.

On Monday, the preschool-aged children made a sunflower ceramic based on Vincent van Gogh’s painting of sunflowers.

“Today, they’re making gargoyle pinch pots,” Dukes said.

The gargoyles are based on pictures of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris that Dukes took during a recent trip to Europe.

Dukes relies on volunteers with expertise in each type of art to help out, but she couldn’t find anyone to help out with the ceramics this year.

“So I took a crash course last Monday,” she said.

Other types of art the students are being exposed to include movements (dance) being taught by Renee Hodge and 3-D art being taught by Kay Fox, the center’s resident artist.

“In movement, they are going to Scotland, Italy and France,” Dukes said.

In the 3-D art session, the children made castles. Those in a fourth session, taught by Seymour art teacher Ashley Wehmiller, painted the Eiffel Tower on Tuesday and a Japanese bridge on Monday.

Katelynn Woods of Seymour said her favorite project was making the sunflower in pottery class.

“We got to make something we could touch and feel,” the 6-year-old said.

Kiiko Kamiya, who has been a volunteer during summer art camps at the center on the city’s far northside for three years, agreed.

“I like (all) art anyway,” the 19-year-old Seymour resident said. “I took a ceramics class in high school. Ceramics is 3-D. You actually make things. It adds another dimension.”

Kamiya said she had a tutor who brought her out and talked to her about volunteer opportunities at the center.

“Helping them is fun,” Kamiya said of working with the young children.

Kamiya, who attends Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, said she is not considering a career in art.

“But I do enjoy it,” she said.

Volunteer Morgan Hixson, a junior at Seymour High School, has a more straightforward reason for helping out during the camps at the center.

“I need the credits for National Honor Society,” the 16-year-old said.

Hixson said she also likes art and enjoys working with children.

“They’re just really fun to be around, and they’re positive,” she said.

One of those positive kids was 5-year-old Thomas Kinder of Seymour.

He said he was having such a good time at art camp that he might like to come back again next year.

Thomas said making pottery was his favorite thing.

“… because I made a house out of clay,” he said.

Besides taking home their art pieces at the end of the week, each student also will get to take home a passport full of stamps from each country they visited.

The camp for the younger kids continues through Friday at the center.

The art camp for children in grades 4 through 6 will start Monday and run through June 17. Students in grades 1 through 3 will have two art camp opportunities to choose from — June 20 through 24 or June 27 through July 1.

If you go

An art camp for students in grades 4 through 6 will be from Monday to June 17, while students in grades 1 through 3 will have two art camp opportunities to choose from — June 20 through 24 or June 27 through July 1.

The camps are at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, 2001 N. Ewing St., Seymour.

For information, call the center at 812-522-2278.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.