As an art teacher, Rhonda Powell enjoys watching students use their imagination.
Under her instruction, the students painted colorful waves washing ashore. On the canvass real sand and shells were used to create the art. It was one of many activities held during the Sampson Arts Camp, held June 11 through June 14 at Sampson Community College.
“It’s always amazing to see these kids and how they grow each year,” Powell said about watching students grow artistically. “It’s just always a joy to come out here every year and do this.”
It was hosted by the Sampson County Arts Advisory Council, which is made up of educators from local schools. The camp provided music, dance, visual arts and theater. With the assistance of instructors, teachers enjoyed painting, puppet shows, singing, playing instruments and the technical aspects of dancing. Close to 60 students participated.
The camp was created in the late-1980s and its goal is to provide art experiences for students who may not have had them in school.Rue S. Lee-Holmes, Sampson County Schools Arts Education Coordinator, said the camp provides a relaxed learning environment outside of the traditional classroom setting.
In the beginning, it was just for students enrolled in Sampson County Schools, but now it include learners from the Clinton City Schools system and others such as Mintz Christian Academy, Harrells Academy.
“Now, we have kids from all over the county,” Lee-Holmes said. “We’re still providing experiences for kids who may not have these experiences in a school setting or to just offer an extension of what they have in their school.”
Kindergarten through eighth-grade students enrolled in Sampson County’s school system have music and visual arts classes during the year. But in the middle school system, schools don’t have dance classes and theater. Both experiences are provided by the camp, which provides education and theory of the practices.
Students and instructors received a visit from Shana Tucker, an artist and musician. During the music class, the students created a song where each class added a verse. The camp concluded Thursday, with presentations. Along with Powell, the instructors included Heather Knowles, dance; Connie Bradshaw, music; and Heather Anderson, theater. Students from Sampson Early College High assisted during the week.
“I think this is a wonderful experience for parents to have their children be a part of,” Lee-Holmes said.
For Lee-Holmes one of the biggest advantages is giving a students a chance to work with others, make new friends, be creative and express themselves, especially in the theater class.
“You got some kids that might be a little shy and they get behind that set and they begin to glow,” Lee-Holmes said. “I think that’s a really good benefit for the kids, especially at this age.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.