By Erie Vitiello
In spite of the recent cold snap, the almond trees are in bloom, and that means spring — and summer — are right around the corner!
Here at the Davis Art Center, we are planning another full schedule of summer activities for the whole family to enjoy together. We are happy to announce that Discovery Art, the interactive gallery exhibit that debuted last year under the direction of Rachel Hartsough, will be returning with a new theme: “Momentum — Art in Action: Creativity in Motion.” The program, funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation, will include a plethora of fun art-based activities encouraging participants to explore the relationship between creativity and action as a physical and social force.
Components will include “Off the Grid,” the popular community-sourced mural-making project; “Wheels, Wings and Widgets,” a hands-on action station where visitors can experiment with physics and design by creating a dynamic mobile or amazing chain reaction; and “Moving Parts,” a dynamic, collaborative installation created by local artists with crowd-sourced ideas and images. Mark your calendar now to attend the Discovery Art opening reception on July 12.
Summer at the Art Center means mini-camps, and this year we are partnering with the Pence Gallery to offer a special mini-camp for ages 9-12 in conjunction with the Discovery Art exhibit. Mornings will be spent at the Art Center, 1919 F St., where campers will experiment with a new scientific aspect of momentum each day, then play with how momentum can be investigated through visual arts, movement and dance, sound and music, and design.
After lunch at Rainbow City, children will be chaperoned by bike to the Pence Gallery, 212 D St., to engage in a different art project each afternoon related to momentum, including creating self-portraits, figure sculptures and kinetic mobiles. The camp will be offered July 22-26 and Aug. 19-23.
Another new mini-camp this year is the Davis Code Camp, taught by husband-and-wife duo Jessie and Ray Valdes. Campers 10 years and older will be introduced to Scratch, a child-friendly computer programming language developed at MIT. Jessie Valdes says children have a lot of fun with this system and quickly learn programming principles by dragging and dropping colored blocks to direct the movements of various characters, such as Scratch the Cat. Once children develop facility with the language, they can start developing their own projects, which can be uploaded to the MIT website at the end of the camp.
Davis Code Camp will be offered July 15-18 and July 22-25.
If your child needs reinforcement in language arts, he or she might benefit — and have fun — by enrolling in Reading and Writing for Early Success in School, a mini-camp taught by reading specialists Jean Salk and Tara Johnson. These two credentialed teachers have taught for years in the Davis Joint Unified School District and know how to utilize positive and innovative techniques to foster confidence and love of reading in every child.
These camps are geared toward grade level for children entering kindergarten, first, second or third grades. Classes meet three days per week in sessions June 10-21, July 1-12 and July 22-Aug. 2.
As usual, we’ll have tons of camps going on all summer long in all the arts, including clay, cooking, dance, drama, jewelry, multimedia, music, textiles and video. Mini-camps generally run for two to three hours per day for one or two weeks, which allows parents and grandparents to find just the right activity to fit in with family vacation plans.
So keep an eye out for the spring/summer catalog, which will be posted at www.davisartcenter.org on March 14, available in our office on March 19, and inserted in The Davis Enterprise on March 21. Summer online registration for Davis Art Center members begins on March 15, and nonmember, telephone and in-person registration begins March 22.
And what can grown-ups do at the Art Center this summer? In addition to enjoying the family activities in the Discovery Art exhibit, we invite siblings, parents and grandparents to enroll in that drawing or painting or dance class that you’ve always wanted to try. You’ll find our catalog is chock-full of teen/adult classes in all artistic disciplines, too — so join us and let your inner child enjoy the summer along with your child!
— Erie Vitiello is executive director of the Davis Art Center. This column is published monthly.