Kids encouraged to be messy in art summer camp | Education

Kids encouraged to be messy in art summer camp

Danica Zunica shows off a comic she made during a session at the camp.

Annie Mattea

LOWELL − Children are encouraged to get messy and in touch with their creativity this year at Art and Soul DIY Studio’s art camp, now in a new location in Lowell.

Owner Krista Gray said when she was young, she remembered doing a lot of projects in schools that allowed her to play with her hands and be messy. Because of the pandemic and ongoing funding issues, she sees less of that in schools.

“A lot of schools do not have dedicated art rooms anymore,” Gray said. “Every kid I know doesn’t know how to do things like papier-mache.”

At the art camp, children are encouraged to be messy and be a hassle. The studio space reflects that making a mess is OK, Gray said, with paint splotches on the floor and tables covered with sheets of paper so there is no concern about getting them dirty. 

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“I want kids to feel free,” Gray said.

The new location opened in March and has allowed a lot more space for children to be creative, in addition to private parties and popup events.

“It’s a great family activity that is semi-affordable,” Gray said, comparing it to going to museums or amusement parks with high entry fees. 

Each week at the camp has a different theme, exploring several different ways campers can engage with their imagination. The first week explored big colors and textures. Children were able to use puffy paint and other items to create 3D elements of their art.

The second week was cartooning, where children were able to build a story line about anything they wanted to present to their family. 

“I wanted them to work from their imagination and make it their own,” Gray said. “It teaches them how to plan and be organized, because comics have less room for spontaneity.”

Danica Zunica, a camper during the cartoon week, created a story line based on her own original characters titled “Levitating.” Finn Stenberg, another camper, chose to take characters he loved and incorporate them into a story all together. 

Upcoming weeks include sculpting, print making and process art, where campers will be able to practice spin paint and pouring paint over a canvas. 

Registration for the camp is still available. One week of camp costs $195 and it is split between children from 5-10 years old and 8-17 years old. There are also options for day passes, which are $45. 

In addition to the summer camp, Art & Soul DIY Studio is working with BellaBoo’s Children Play and Discovery Center to offer art workshops every two weeks. The first workshop focused on the creation of dreamcatchers, where kids were able to work with yarn and hoops to fashion a catcher.

“The director of Bellaboo’s loved the vibe here and invited us to work with them,” Gray said. She said it is geared toward children who are 9 years old or under, but anybody is able to do it.  

To sign up for the camp, parents can visit Art & Soul DIY Studio’s website.

Angelia S. Rico

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