EAST BEND — A local artist has been sharing her talents with area youth with her interactive hands-on art and adventure camp. This summer artist Sharon Grubbs held two week-long camp sessions for different age groups. The children not only work with different art media forms, they go on field trips in nature and at area businesses to find things on which to base their art projects.
“I have always loved being outdoors and as an artist I draw a lot of inspiration from different elements. I can then bring those ideas into my studio and be as creative as I choose,” Grubbs explained. “I want kids to begin to see with an artist’s eye, and also realize how special it is to experience new things — it enriches our lives.”
Last week the students experienced many different things, all based locally. Children got up and close, personal tours of NOMAD farms, a family-owned farm which raises cattle, chicken and pigs; Keiffer Farms, an organic vegetable farm; and Branch Bakery in Yadkinville. The week wrapped up with a nature walk and the children made their own cane fishing poles from bamboo and got to fish with them.
“Generally our art projects were chosen each day to reflect the subject matter or inspiration from the various activities. I wanted them to experience a wide variety of mediums so their projects included clay, encaustic wax painting, block printing, watercolor pencils, making mobiles from geometric cut outs, glue and oil pastels, etc.,” Grubbs said.
Grubbs said her favorite projects were a glue and oil pastel drawing and a geometric mobile.
“The glue/oil pastel drawings were inspired by their visit to NOMAD farms so they created fun, fanciful animal drawings and the geometric mobiles because they were also bright and colorful and because the exercise was intended to show them how shapes play such an important role in art,” she said.
The clay was a favorite media for all the children, Grubbs said.
Camper Keaton Forrest said the geometric mobile was his favorite because “it just looked cool.”
“My favorite was painting,” said Lilah Clayman.
Isabelle Blancas said the wax encaustic painting was her favorite because “it was different and fun.”
Watching the childrens’ minds expand to truly appreciate nature was a special part of the camp for Grubbs.
“One of my favorite moments came at the end of week, a 5-year-old young boy said to his mother, ‘There are two birds on the blueberry bushes and it’s just beautiful! I wish miss Sharon had her paints out here so she could paint that scene — it’s so beautiful!’ That’s what it’s all about to me,” she said.
Parents also raved about the camp and the experiences it provided to their children.
“This was the first year that my 5-year-old son was able to go to the Art and Adventure Camp with Sharon and he had an absolutely great time,” said Amanda Minton. “Every day he came home sharing the events of the day and was excited for the next. He loved visiting the different farms and especially the fishing with cane poles. He enjoyed learning about different styles and mediums of art and had a blast creating all kinds of pictures and projects. As the week drew near to an end he was sad and said he couldn’t wait for next year and maybe Sharon could have it for 20 days!”
Nicholas McGalliard, whose daughter attended the camp, said it was wonderful and he was thankful to Sharon and her husband for offering the camp.
“This camp has taught the kids so much more than many different types of art, it has taught them about life and about nature,” he said. “My daughter has experienced things this week that will have a positive impact on her life.”
Exposing children to art at a young age can have many benefits, Grubbs said.
“I think art broadens the imagination and starts conversations among any ages, but mostly for kids it allows them to start to find the beauty that is in almost everything and that there are many many different ways to express yourself,” she said. “We all see color and subjects differently, it becomes art when we transpose those visions in our own way — if they choose to paint a cow purple — go for it! Most importantly, art is in the eye of the artist and the beholder, just like everyone is different so will their art work be.”
In addition to the summer art camp, Grubbs also offers art classes for adults and children at her studio, those classes will begin in the fall. For more information on Sharon Grubbs and her art and classes, visit her Facebook page Sharon Grubbs Fine Art or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.