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What Your Kids Did at Art Camp – Week 3
design, summer camp

What Your Kids Did at Art Camp – Week 3

I am flying to England on Sunday, so I’m writing about this week’s camp before the week is even over! I also am a little thin on photos, but I’ll update this post with more pictorial evidence later today, or you can click here.
I have been very busy, and this blog post may sound a bit muddled and rushed, but I’m glad to say that, this week’s camp was not. As usual there were many impromptu moments, and kid driven projects, and much mess was generated.

In addition to the art making, there was a sweaty game of basketball, lots of tree climbing, an afternoon running through the town sprinklers, and some raucous games of musical chairs. The weather is sweltering, the kids fade quickly every day, and we have limited most of our projects to the mornings, leaving the second half of the day to play indoor games and flop in armchairs, and on my picnic blanket. I’m surprised at just how much we have managed to get done this week.

The theme is Graphic Design, and the kids were surprised that no computers were involved , but ummm sorry, I don’t actually own fifteen computers loaded up with Adobe Creative Suite! But you don’t need a computer to learn about the fundamentals of graphic design. We talked about design in general, and how it impacts everybody’s life. We looked at public transport systems in different cities, and examined Harry Beck‘s designs for the London Underground map. The kids tried their hand at designing transit systems for the Town of Vienna, and produced simple, color coded maps for them. They realized that this is a lot harder than it actually sounds!


After that brain boggling project, I handed out rolls of colored masking tape and the kids started to make abstract compositions inspired by their transit maps. This turned out to be a stroke of genius. If you ever have a bunch of tired and resistant kids in art class, break out the colored masking tape. I believe that the best ideas come to you when you are in a state of play, and this project is the perfect example of that – it just kept going on and on and on. The more pieces the campers produced, the more they began to understand about how the elements of design work. They were exploring and playing with scale, balance, color, value, and direction without even realizing it! This led to some color paper collage work that focused on using negative space creatively, and looking at static versus dynamic compositions. Sounds complicated, but they were really into it. Also, they started wrapping rocks in masking tape for the Vienna Rock Hunt, and were pretty good at it.




Even the littlest kid got into it!


Around this time, some kids were also playing around with lettering in their spare time. I brought in some sumi ink, and they happily experimented with brush lettering and calligraphy. So I changed direction and started a typography project, aided by Chip Kidd’s brilliant book on graphic design for kids. We looked at different typefaces, and discussed what they could be used for, and we also talked about color symbolism. I asked the campers to draw words so that they would make people think of their opposite meaning when they looked at them. The kids are taking a while to grasp this, but I think they are getting it, and will produce some amazing work tomorrow morning.


Tomorrow afternoon will probably end with a LOT of cleaning up, and bribes in the form of┬áchocolate covered Oreos, and then … it’s time to pack for London, and four weeks of good tea, great art, and old friends.

I’ll be in touch with some pictures! Happy Friday!




About Author

Artist, Educator, Parent, Small Business Owner, Big kid from a big city, in a small town.

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