3 Classes, 2 Programs, 1 Summer
This summer has been particularly exciting for me because for two months, I have had a full itinerary of art activities. I worked a month of summer camps, interrupted and followed by two craft fairs, a commission work due at the end of this month, and finally the beginning of a collaboration on a wordless picture book.
Woo! That's a variety and, theoretically, it should all be actually paid work (a true first).
In today's post I want to give a round up on the first part of my summer: the camps.
Drawing & Painting with Teens at Snow Farm
Snow Farm is a magical place in Williamsburg, Massachusetts set on a historic farm nestled by the Berkshires. It is beautiful, idyllic, and rather isolated. During the rest of the year, Snow Farm acts as a center hosting workshops and events in a wide range of arts and crafts. They have an amazing facility including resources for textiles, metal work, flame work, glass blowing, wood working, ceramics, and drawing and painting. During the summer they use their seasonal dorm-style housing and cafeteria to host a teen summer art's program.
I taught the first session with co-instructor Slater (look its us!). Slater, second-session instructor Sonja, and myself designed the curriculum together. We focused on charcoal and acrylics and emphasizing the process of observation and working from life. We taught groups of students ranging in age from 13-18. For many students, this was the most intensive art experience yet in their lives. Each student only takes two classes for a total of 10 hours a day. That's a lot for any professional. It is also a lot for a teacher.
One of the highlights of the program for me was the visiting artists on the first weekend of each session. I had a chance to work with XXXXX. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such an established and kind artist.
My time at Snow Farm was an amazing experience for me as both a teacher and an artist. I had the chance to work with teenagers in an intensity yet unknown to me and I had a chance to meet some amazing teachers. I made camp friends all of my own!
College for Kids - True Camp Chaos
The last couple of weeks I have been working for College for Kids at Westfield State University. This family friendly, affordable day camp allows students to try a variety of activities from sports, to crafts, to baking - all the weird and wonderful summer activities included.
During my first week, I taught 5-9 year-olds how to make Fairy and Gnome Houses. The second week I was a replacement teacher for the Christmas in July class for 9-12 year-olds. While I designed the curriculum for both courses, I was primarily excited for the fairy houses. We spent the week building individual houses, group houses, and temporary outside structures. It was a lot fun, very loud, and just a little magical.
The second week was more of a challenge and definitely pushed me as a teacher. While I did not choose the subject matter, I was happy for the extra work and prepared to do holiday themed crafts and baking. What surprised me was the intensity of the middle school students' opinions on what they liked and didn't like. So I pushed them a bit to expand their preferences, and they pushed me a bit to be more adaptable with the curriculum. In the end, their was less crafting or holiday themed and much more baking and cooking lessons. Perhaps this deviated a bit from the course catalog, but everyone left happy and at summer camp, I count that as a win.
A Break from Teaching
I loved working at these summer camps, but after working with the whole school age spectrum, I am ready for a few weeks working in my own studio and speaking to more adults. The stamina of full-time teachers astounds me. I admire their work and dedication, because it is not meant for everyone. I love working with children and young adults, and I love helping people learn and grow. That said, I would not have the energy to do it full time. So here's to the teachers of the world, thank you!
Soon I will let you know how the first summer fair went and the new projects I completed just in time for it.