The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

July 24, 2013

Artistic exposure

Children attend sculpture camp


DANVILLE —  “The Art League really has their finger on the pulse in the community. The Art League is an amazing resource for Danville that some big cities do not have,” said Shelley Henk, volunteer for the kids’ sculpture camp last week at the Art League.

She and other volunteers taught children ages 6-12 about sculpture and art.

The sculpture camp was $55 for Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The students are able to expand their skills with sculpture using items other than clay.

“They are modeling and crossing over with different kinds of art,” said Kem Wiggins, in her third year as camp director. The teachers used more paper than clay this year to show students what they can make with everyday things found at home.

There were three different classes with three age levels. Each age group completed different projects that are designed for their age level. There were three adults in each group — a teacher, a teacher’s assistant and a group leader who travels with the same group. The day was split up into three sections, with an hour at each, and after the second section a snack is provided.

Each group starts the week with a presentation on a local artist in the gallery. They are exposed to different artists’ work every day.

Each group then focuses on a different word each day, such as texture, movement and contrast. With this word as their guideline, the teachers have the students make a project that fits the theme.

The teachers and assistants are either self-taught artists, students with an art major, retired teachers or volunteers who love art.

Henk is one of these volunteers who provides her time to be a group leader for this camp. Her daughter was enrolled in the home school art class and now they are both enjoying the sculpture camp.

“This camp is very productive for the kids to do over the summer,” she said. “This allows kids to do something that parents would probably not allow them to do at home.”

Henk has always loved art but received a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She now works part-time in nursing but also has started a photography business.

“What you’re geared to do comes out anyway later, I was really into art, but I wish I would have had more opportunities to develop my skills like these children have,” she said.

Rachel Bein, head teacher at the sculpture camp, is a senior art education major at Illinois State University and is in her first year teaching at the art league. She agrees she is lucky to be able to do this.

She along with all of the other teachers say the camp is very organized, and Wiggins has done a great job this year.

There are two camps still to come, a drawing camp and painting camp that will give more children the chance to learn and appreciate art.

The art league is not open to the public Monday through Thursday during these camp times, but is open 9 a.m.-noon Friday and Saturday and 6-9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday nights. For information about the art league visit the website, or call 442-9264.