Every year, as the summer starts to slowly wind down, the Sampson County Arts Council hosts a Summer Art Camp for grades 1-6 and Art Workshops for grades 7-12.
“I started working here about seven years go and so the camps started around the same time,” explained Kara Donatelli, executive director of the Sampson County Arts Council.
The summer art camp ran from 8:30 a.m. through 12 p.m. Monday to Thursday. One session is titled Animal Planet where the kids learn about animal pattern drawings and clay sculptures. The other session is titled Color Exploration where the kids review the color wheel and work with different types of paints like pastels and watercolors. Each session was limited to 36 kids.
“The camps are funded by our golf tournament fundraiser that we do in June each year. We also offer scholarships to students in the county and city schools. This year we offered 40 scholarships for the kids to come for free,” stated Donatelli.
The camp charges $100 for members of the SAC and $125 for nonmembers.
Donatelli expressed how the visual camp serves to introduce kids to different types of art and teaches them who and what the Arts Council is.
Leydian Ortiz, a rising second grader, is attending the camp for the first time but it is already thinking about coming back.
“It took three days to convince my grandma to let me come. I’ve been painting really cool stuff like zebras and flamingos,” Ortiz said.
A fellow classmate of Ortiz, Daniel Tellez also stated that his favorite part of each day is just getting to draw.
“I really liked going to Mrs. Colt’s class because she was my teacher in kindergarten,” said Tellez.
County and city school art teachers are part of the staff. Each session has three teachers.
The camp also features group leaders, where middle school students are hired to act as councilors for the kids. Sadie Dunne is a leader at the camp.
“I came here for two years as a student and I really loved it and I wanted to still come so I’ve been a leader for two years,” Dunne expressed.
Dunne also stated how the best part about camp is seeing the kids become more social throughout the week.
Keith Carter is a teacher at the camp as well. He teaches workshops specializing in cartoons for middle school and high school kids.
“The biggest thing I want them to learn is to communicate with pictures, with no words. A lot of people can draw pretty pictures but without solid storytelling, it can be hard to follow.”
An overarching theme is that not only are the staff members teaching the kids about the principles of art, but the kids are teaching the staff the principles of life. Donatelli said she hopes the children take their creative tools out into the real world and paint it bright.