A local art camp gave children a chance to show their creative side last Thursday at the Foothills Arts Council.
Jan Gilliam, a retired Wilkes County Art Teacher, was holding art camps and classes last week for children in both elementary and middle school, painting landscapes, portraits and murals and giving kids a chance to express themselves through paint and brush. The camps were held under the shelter in the backyard of the Foothills Arts Council.
“I’ve never done this camp before but I’ve taken some classes back in spring,” said Chloe Jones. “It’s been fun. I really love how you can personalize your work and make it your own. My favorite part is mixing and creating new colors.”
The camps were divided into three groups based on age and grade. First- and second-graders had a different project every day and got to learn about a new art style each day, including landscapes, illustrations, still-lifes, and pop art. Grades third to fifth got to make Kandinsky circle art and sixth-graders and up got to make self-portraits on their mural. The latter two groups got to paint 4 x 8 foot murals which will be placed somewhere downtown to showcase to the public. The locations for the murals have yet to be announced.
“I love getting to use my imagination and make whatever I want to make,” said Reagan Tullock.
Each day, kids also learned a lot of basics about making art including mixing colors, contrasts, and using different shapes and techniques.
Gilliam believes that giving children the opportunity to express themselves is important at their age to express their personality.
“I absolutely, positively love working here and this has been a fabulous camp with these kids,” said the teacher. “They have been unbelievable artists. I enjoy them so much. You see the spark when they get a new idea and they’re having a good time. It’s also fun to watch them experiment with their choices and discovering what they can make. It’s creating. It’s energizing.”
“We can just be creative and do what we think works best with our painting,” said Gracie Fortune who was from Tennessee visiting her cousin. “You don’t screw up in art. It just becomes another piece.”
“I like the splattering where we just got to make a mess. It didn’t matter how it lands,” said Hannah Fortune. “We could make lines, we could make dots, just whatever we wanted. I feel like I’ve learned a lot here too. We’ve learned about movements and artists and all the different ways we can make our art our own. I want to do this camp again.”
Plans are being made for after school art classes starting in September at the Foothills Arts Council. Grades one through three will be on Tuesdays from 3:30 p.m., grades four and up will have classes on Monday from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., and teens and adults will have classes Monday nights at 6:00 p.m.
Gilliam has taught classes and hosted camps before and has been looking forward to having the chance to do it again this year.
“They’ve been having a blast and have just been giggle giggle giggle,” said Gilliam. “They’ve acted like they’ve had a good time. Everybody can be different and everybody can be successful. Sometimes, their best work comes from the happy accidents along the way.”
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.