— By BRIAN SMITH
Weatherford Art Association members are helping to spread their love of art with children through the first ever Art Camp.
The camp, which began Monday, was the brainchild of WAA Vice President of Shows and Publicity Kathy Cunning. Cunning said with the lack of art classes in the schools right now, she said she felt it would be a great way to get young people to love art.
“I look at it as a way of giving back to the community and get the organization more recognition,” Cunning said.
She said signups were slow at first but the camps, which are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, are now completely full with a waiting list. Promotion was done via Facebook and the newspaper. Children grades K-6 are eligible for the camps, which run through the second week of August, Cunning said.
Different teachers will work with a variety of forms of art with each teacher responsible for the curriculum of the week. Teacher Sarah Fino, who taught elementary school art in Alamogordo, N.M., before coming to town, was working with the children on painting. Fino taught the students to use a straw to blow their paint around to make a collage.
Fino said Cunning had approached her with the idea to teach.
“It’s amazing to see how these kids develop in the course of a few days,” Fino said. “They’re all doing really well.”
Fino worked with fellow teacher Linda Whitehouse to develop two or three projects per week-long class. Cunning said having the kids go home with a project each day is the focus.
The children are also learning valuable life skills in the process of being campers. One little girl was late for the start of class Wednesday and was assisted by another classmate who had her in the swing of things quickly.
“The little girl was very shy on Monday but by being in the atmosphere for a day or so, she now is having a great time,” Cunning said.
The camp also comes with little bouts of something most kids could use – exercise, which helps break up the monotony of doing just art.
Art association members donated many of the supplies and food. Cunning said with the success of this year’s camp, plans for next year are already in the works.
“Next year, we would like to have the younger kids up front and the older children here in the back, so they are able to work with children their own age,” Cunning said. “We couldn’t be happier with how things are going.”