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Summer camp encourages artists

The Lincoln County Arts Council will host the eighth annual Summer Art Camp at the Lincoln Cultural Center.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to be able to do something really fun and have a hands-on learning experience,” said Donna McMahon, freelance artists and instructor. “It gives them a better appreciation to the world around them.”
This year’s theme, “A Summer Festival,” will inspire students’ artwork in drawing, painting, three-dimensional art, clay and crafts.
“We try to give the students a taste of everything, from drawing to painting and sculpting,” said Mary Jane Howard, executive director of the Lincoln County Arts Council. “The students are going to be making piсatas and other things for different festivals and celebrations.”
Each of the instructors come from different backgrounds and areas of expertise, bringing different ideas to the camp.
“It’s a good combination of teachers, we complement each other,” said McMahon.
Along with McMahon, college student and best-of-show winner Amy Powell and college student and rising artist Leah Snyder will teach the art classes with 10 – 12 students each.
All the instructors are qualified artists selected to teach classes during the Art Camp.
“The teachers are selected by their willingness to teach; the ones that like children and get along with them and have the knack for that,” Howard said.
“We’re all qualified for the job, they don’t just take anyone, they’re really careful who they choose,” said McMahon. “
This is the eighth year of the annual Summer Art Camp and the program continues to grow in quality rather than quantity.
“Because we can only have 10 to 12 students per teacher, it doesn’t grow in size,” said Howard. “But the methods for teaching improve.
“The teachers bring new ideas from school or crafts shows. I think our program gets better every year,” she added.
Students will attend classes in painting, drawing, sculpting and crafts in the artists’ studio, community room and rehearsal hall of the Cultural Center. Each class will be made up of three age groups. Classes run 9:30 a.m. – noon with a snack break in-between.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to be able to do something really fun and have a hands on learning experience,” said McMahon.
“It’s really a well-balanced, well-rounded week. We make it something that interests everybody,”she said. “Usually, the same students keep coming back because they enjoy it so much.”
The Arts Council developed this program for students to learn more about themselves as artists and have fun. There is little competition among students for awards or prizes.
“It’s just for fun,” said Howard. “We don’t want to put pressure on them. It’s suppose to be enjoyable and not like school.”
The Arts Council’s funding comes through the Grassroots Art Program of the North Carolina Arts Council and local government.
“This program is one of the few we charge for, because we have to pay teachers,” said Howard. “Any thing extra, the Arts Council pays for through funding.”
The Arts Council continues to hold their annual art camp, despite a financial crisis caused by last autumn’s cancellation of the Lincoln County Apple Festival; the festival is one of the main venues for selling merchandise and art.
“We didn’t have the money to pay for our T-shirts,” Howard said, referring to the T-shirts created specifically for the festival.
However, the Art Council refuses to let this issue become a problem for their annual programs.
Classes offered to students will last June 6 -10, followed by a small reception for parents and the public to view art created by the students.
For more information call the Lincoln Arts Council at (704) 732-9044.
by Maribeth Kiser

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