Art camps: A creative outlet for kids

SHERIDAN – It may not lead to the Broadway stage or an art gallery in the Guggenheim, but it could lead to increased self confidence and a new passion in life. Plus, it will give those kiddos something to do now that school’s out for the summer.

Sheridan County YMCA and Sheridan Artists’ Guild, et al, are offering summer art and theater camps for kids to be creative and social while learning something new and having fun.

“Everyone, kids especially, needs a creative outlet,” SAGE Executive Director Jody Sauers said.

SAGE will offer its ninth annual summer art camp, Young at Art, July 15-18 at the Sagebrush Community Art Center. The camp is for kids in third through eighth grade. The camp format will be more camp-like than past years with students taking four classes each day rather than picking one or two courses.

Classes – to begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. – will include collages with Neltje, beading with Mary McDougall, clay creations with Sauers and basic drawing and painting with Sonja Caywood. Tena Twite will offer an evening course for children and adults on creating fantasy fairy gardens.

SAGE is also hosting a Young at Art youth art show at the Sagebrush Community Art Center June 17-July 6 for all artists under age 18.
“There is no age limitation on art,” Sauers said. “It will build a child’s self-esteem to believe they can do something creative.”
When Max Marquis was a child, his parents wanted him to sign up for summer camp. He wasn’t into sports, so he decided on the YMCA theater camp. It was a week that changed his life. Marquis – who is known for his roles in Sheridan High School theater productions – found his passion in theater camp. He will attend the University of Wyoming this fall to pursue a degree in theater arts.

“As a little guy, it was a friendly environment and a good introduction into the arts world because they hold your hand through it and make it a lot of fun,” Marquis said.

Tami Davis, arts and humanities director at the YMCA and owner of children’s theater company, Tandem Productions, directs two theater camps each summer – an introductory camp for kids ages 8 to 12 who are new to theater and a more advanced camp for kids ages 9 to 14 who have attended Theater Camp 1 or have other theater experience.
“It’s not my goal for these kids to dream of going to Broadway,” Davis said. “The goal and importance of any child’s development in the arts is the teamwork it develops, the ability to accomplish a goal and the increased self esteem.”

Theater Camp I includes theater basics such as voice projection, choreography, improvisation and how to audition. It also includes a tour of local theaters.

Children present a variety show of skits and games they learned at the end of camp.

Theater Camp II includes a full play production, complete with sets and memorized scripts. This year’s play is “Willy Wonka Kids,” a condensed version of the popular “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” A prop-making camp will accompany Theater Camp II for kids who prefer behind-the-scenes work.

“If you can step outside of your body and believe you are someone else, then others will believe it,” Marquis said. “You have to believe it for the audience to believe it.”

For more information on these summer camp offerings, call SAGE at 674-1970 or the YMCA at 674-7488.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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