July 02, 2014 - By Katie Winkler
Review Staff Writer
Five-year-old Katia Muscat and sister Mattea spent their first week of summer picking up leaves, looking at trees and water and getting inspired with their eco-friendly projects.
For five days and about six hours, the six to 10-year-olds participated in the Orion Art Center's nature camp. The camp incorporated pastels, clay, sketching and drawing, and using paper towel rolls in art projects.
Local artists appeared each day at the nature camp to help demonstrate different aspects of nature art: Will Haverty did pastel expressions. Mike Hendrix demonstrated sculpture and drawing for facial placement. Former art teacher Brenda Pescia demonstrated clay. Bonnie Brown showed how to make paper towel roll sculptures. Jason Blazo showed facial animation while Annalisa Loevenguth demonstrated watercolor painting.
Instructor Debbie Thompson explained that the kids had lunch and snacks together, meditated outside, took part in nature games and scavenger hunts to collect objects to use in their art work.
"It has been a very full, fun week for us to learn about our art," Thompson said.
While the nature camp wrapped up on Friday, more kids camps are approaching.
July 14 is the start of Creativity Camp with Carissa Knoles, a local musician and artist.
According to OAC director Lauren Dinneweth, Knoles "likes kids to experience learning and creativity through music."
"Five-ten year olds that attend will participate in drum circles, playing a variety of instruments, and create art projects in conjunction to music."
School of Rock will come and perform, along with teaching the kids about rock music.
Theatre camps starts July 28 and runs through August 1, where kids will work with local actor Susan Berg, creating their own original play "Mischief on Mount Olympus," based on Greek mythology.
This camp makes students comfortable with performing in front of crowds and working with others to put together a successful production.
OAC's most popular children's camp is the Hippie Camp, which takes place in the beginning of August.
"The 1960's are so popular still," Dinneweth said. "People are still celebrating the art. Kids will be tie dying, studying art from that period, color impact, fashion influences, symbols like flowers, peace signs, etc., so they can infuse that into their artwork."
All summer camps cost $150 for all five days, $135 for OAC members.
A variety of hand-building clay classes are available for children and adults throughout the summer, costing only $15 per class.
Open studio Saturday's give community members the opportunity to use the OAC facility to create pottery, while getting help from a pottery expert. Punch cards need to be purchased to participate in the open studio Saturdays, with include 4 classes, 25 pounds of clay and glazes, open studio with use of kiln to fire work, and resident potter help for $100.
"The skills that you gain from art experience will help you the rest of your life: finding creative solutions to working through problems in art," Dinneweth said. "I think that it helps with your creativity and making new friendships. Art is so important in our lives in every area and I think we take it for granted."
Anyone interested can view, sign up for classes, camps, and register to be an OAC member at orionartcenter.org.