While planning summer programming, Davis Art Center staff membersr let creativity and convenience act as our guiding lights. Keeping these mantras in mind, we’re happy to again offer our handy-dandy kids’ mini-camps.
Mini-camps are one- or two-week-long classes that meet several times a week (usually Monday through Friday) for up to three hours each day. The camps — classes like Wire-Wrapped Jewelry, Watercolor for Kids and Youth Theatre, to name a few — give kids an opportunity to try out different activities throughout the summer.
Longer or back-to-back camps also offer parents a welcome break from child care during those long summer days.
This year, we’re adding extra sessions of popular 2010 mini-camps like Eco-Art, which includes nature walks in Community Park, printing, watercolor painting, reading, singing and more. Take One! Video Camp — in which kids ages 10 to 14 film and edit their own video shorts — now precedes a continuing video camp (Take Two!) for those looking to take their productions skills a step further.
Taking into account the convenience of back-to-back camps, we’ve also added extra supervised lunch periods called “Lunch Camps,” which provide a bridge between several camp sessions that end at noon or start at 12:30 p.m. — camps like mini-musicals, So You Think You Can Dance?, Arte Bilingue, Art Scouts, Storybook Art and Funky Style Street Dance.
To read about all of these classes, visit http://davisartcenter.org/classes. Members-only online registration is now open, while phone, in-person, mail and non-member registration begins Friday.
Class categories for ages 4 and up include clay, weaving, multimedia, music and dance, drama, and cooking, which we are introducing for the first time this summer.
In “Creative Kids Cooking Camp: Cooking Through the Day,” children ages 7-12 can have fun while learning how to prepare food safely and creatively. Campers will focus on one meal per day, making breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and dessert over the course of the camp.
At the Davis Art Center, we see cooking as a fun, practical form of creativity, and we are excited to add Chef Juliet Crites to our list of talented teachers.
In addition to having a certificate in childhood development, Crites received a culinary arts education from the American River College Culinary Program where she focused on baking and fine pasty making, Mediterranean and regional American cuisines. Since then, she has catered events for small and large groups ranging from 10 to 400.
“This mini-camp allows kids to see food in its raw form and then actually work with it, transform it through cooking, and then be proud of the results,” Crites said. “It’s a creative way to help them understand where their food comes from and what the process is to make things so delicious.”
With a focus on fresh local ingredients, students will use items from the Davis Farmers Market, and learn how to cook dishes they can easily recreate at home — a tasty frittata and fresh homemade bread, for instance. Campers also will get a chance to bring home a live potted vegetable.
“It’s all about supporting the cycle of farm-to-table, and showing this age group what their role is in that cycle,” Crites said.
Similarly, in the new Junior Junk 2 Genius mini-camp, students will learn of another role they play in the environment while recycling, reusing and recreating. By combining found objects in unexpected ways, children ages 6-12 will use common household items to turn junk into fun and surprising sculptures.
Junk 2 Genius is an annual fall event at the Davis Art Center that celebrates recycling and creativity. Up to 15 teams compete for the coveted “Trophy du Trash” in a two-hour timed “sculpt-off” using recycled materials. Each team receives a box of similar items — donated metal, fabric, computer, bike and auto parts — and races against the clock to create its own unique work of art.
Junk 2 Genius Junior Mini-Camp is a precursor to this event, which also features a kids’ junk art contest. Camp instructor Marcia Ruth, a multimedia sculptor, was a team member on Davis Art Center’s J2G team last year.
“It’s a huge act of imagination,” said Ruth, who previously designed junk art activities for Earth Day in West Virginia. “It fits in with environmentalism and it makes people look at commercial products as if they were shapes. … It detaches them from the commercialism of a package.”
For instance, Ruth said Aquafina bottles make great flowers.
“It’s an open kind of creativity that doesn’t depend on how expensive your paint is, or if you have the right kind of clay,” she explained.
Wherever your child’s interests lie, there is a mini-camp for every kid, so snag those classes early! Go to http://davisartcenter.org/classes to view a catalog, or call (530) 756-4100 for more information.
Also, ask about our raffle for a new iPod Touch or $25 DAC gift certificate, which we are holding in conjunction with summer class registration. Tickets, on sale at the DAC office, are $10 each and raise funds for a new sound system for our atrium stage.
See you soon!
— Melanie Glover is the publicity and program manager for the Davis Art Center. This column appears monthly.