Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Neighbors join forces to create ‘Awesome Art!’ for kids

Sophie Russell, left, and Jenna Sheppard work with clay at an "Awesome Art!" summer workshop led by Jill Van Zanten, a Village Homes resident. Neighborhood residents have pooled their resources over the past few summers to offer camps in drawing, painting, music, ceramics, theater, cooking and printmaking. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

For some kids in Davis, summer camp means walking out into their back yard, or over to a neighbor’s house.

Over the past six years, a few close families in Village Homes have pooled resources and children to create a new model for the summer camp experience. These kids have enjoyed weeklong programs in a wide variety of arts and crafts — from printmaking to botanical drawing, cooking to book-making, theater to dance.

“Our summer programs have evolved different models over the years,” said Shulamit Glazerman, who has four children and initiated the idea with the goal of providing her kids dynamic summer activities without driving and for a reasonable price.

Initially, Glazerman hired Stephanie Thayer to run the camps. Thayer grew up in Village Homes and has many artistic talents and interests. Working out of Glazerman’s courtyard, Thayer brought materials and supervised kids as they worked in a variety of media. The kids often sang camp songs as they worked. They’d take breaks to run around in the nearby swale and swing on ropes tied to a walnut tree. Kids called the camp “Awesome Art!”

After a couple of summers, and with younger siblings vying to get in on the action, Glazerman sought to diversify the offerings. She divided kids into two age groups and drew individual artists to share their expertise in particular media. At its height, the program offered seven weeklong courses to two different age groups.

Glazerman found some artists in her neighborhood. Ceramicist Jill Van Zanten set up a clay camp in her own Village Homes courtyard. She has taught kids a variety of techniques in her classes — coil, slab and pinch-pot construction — and has let older kids try the wheel. Kids also have seen how their work is fired in a kiln at Van Zanten’s house.

Van Zanten’s classes have been so popular that she offers them every summer, and has drawn some kids from beyond the neighborhood.

Other neighbors and friends were tapped for classes. One year, Poppy Nichols taught a cooking class in her kitchen. Book-maker Courtney McNeil ran a workshop on storytelling and pop-up books. Stacy Goldenberg, a parent-friend and former Village Homes resident, taught a course on printmaking. Her stepdaughter, Davis school district librarian Amanda Sharpe, was tapped to teach dance. Botanical artist Stacey Vetter used local flowers and foliage as models for a class on drawing and painting techniques.

Glazerman also hired Laura Sandage, a local singer-songwriter and drama enthusiast, to run theater camp. For three years, Sandage and her daughter Vita have worked with neighborhood kids to create a one-of-a-kind musical theater production. The kids develop a story line, choose characters, write song lyrics, make scenery and props, and design programs. The week concludes with an open performance for families and neighbors.

Commenting on this year’s production, “Jumble in the Jungle,” which was presented in June for family members, neighbors and a class from Peregrine School, Sandage said, “Every year the kids take more initiative. This year, they talked about having a volcano in the show, and when I came the next morning, it was already built.”

Neighborhood art camp has a number of advantages over traditional programs. It’s convenient and efficient, with no travel time. It’s a good value because all the costs go into instruction and materials, not overhead or facility costs. (Awesome Art programs have ranged from $5 to $10 per child per hour, depending on number of kids per session and art medium.)

Teachers are hand-picked, so quality of instruction is high. Classes can be tailored to kids’ interests. Some activities, like theater camp, work naturally with a mix of ages. Other camps can target particular age or ability levels.

Most significantly, neighborhood camp can deepen connections within the community, especially among the children participating.

“The shared creative activity builds on existing relationships and can continue beyond the instructional time because the kids are all together so much,” Sandage said.

Neighbor Jill Stengel agrees. With three children who have participated since the program’s inception, Stengel said, “I especially like that the kids learn to look to their neighbors for inspiration; that art or even proficiency at anything is found nearby, with regular, approachable people.”

What does it take to get this type of program going? First, it takes a critical mass of interested kids and supportive families who share a vision for neighborhood camp. It also takes some organization and logistical support — to find teachers, a suitable space and a workable model. It takes strong relationships and trust among the kids, parents and teachers.

Glazerman acknowledges that Village Homes provides an unusually appropriate setting, and Davis talented people, to make this kind of project work.

“Our neighborhood camp has been an evolutionary process,” Glazerman added. “As my kids have gotten older, their interests have diversified. They are branching out and wanting to try new things.”

Some instructors continue to offer camps, like theater and clay. These programs require little effort to set up. Every once in a while, Glazerman tries something new. This summer, she organized a chamber music camp for a trio of young musicians, with her daughter’s flute teacher, Village Homes neighbor Virginia Thigpen, as coach.

Glazerman believes the results are well worth the effort it has taken.

“There’s something very satisfying about seeing neighborhood kids engaged together in a creative process,” she said, adding, “Can anyone recommend a trapeze artist who works well with kids?”

Special to The Enterprise

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Food insecurity remains an issue for many county residents

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
4-H members prepare for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
 
Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

 
Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6