Art Feeds, Even Virtually: Creative summer camp goes online

Art Feeds, Even Virtually: Creative summer camp goes online
LARA JO HIGHTOWER/Special to the Free Weekly

Art Feeds — a nonprofit organization that uses art instruction to help kids process emotions — has a new “camp in a box” available for kids this month that’s not your usual art program. “There’s been a burglary at the Art Museum, and we need your help,” begins the description for Art Feeds Camp: Artist Detectives.

“I love our jobs, because I think we just get to imagine what we would have liked when we were kids,” says Art Feeds founder and CEO Meg Bourne of conceptualizing the online summer camp. “Of course, at Art Feeds, we have a big push on the expressive part of creating art — but, also, creative problem solving is really important to us. So we thought, ‘What a fun way to integrate both learning about artists as well as putting those creative problem solving skills to good use — by solving a mystery!’”

A big selling point of the camp is the fact that it’s self-paced, important for those summer schedules that can vary so much. It’s billed as a four-day program, but campers can log in at their leisure to find clues and details about their next assignment.

“Each day, we’ll be exploring the piece of artwork that was ‘stolen,’ and who the artist is,” Bourne explains. “And the call to action for the camper is to re-create the work of art as one project of the day — we don’t want the walls to be blank in the pretend Art Museum! And then we have a clue every day, and an alternate project that has an exploration of them figuring out, ‘Who’s the burglar?” By the end of the four days, they’ll have enough clues to figure out who stole all the artwork.”

During the course of the camp, artists featured are a diverse group of women, including Yayoi Kusama, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Helen Frankenthaler.

With Artist Detectives, kids can sharpen their art skills in the comfort of their own homes. “We want this to be something that is flexible, where maybe the kids are outside all morning, and it gets too hot and they come in and do camp,” says Art Feeds CEO Meg Bourne. “It’s not too stringent, where you have to show up at a certain time to do a live Zoom teaching video. And the thing that I really love about the art kits that we’re sending out is that they are four unique art kits that will be used each day for camp, but there are so many supplies, they can be used for the rest of the summer. We’re really all about sustainability and longevity when it comes to any kind of programming we build.” (Courtesy Photo)

Included in the price of the class are four I Heart Art supply packs with enough art supplies for at least one or two kids; depending on how you use the supplies, there may be enough for more. Kits include the Bold and Bright Mash-Up Art Pack, complete with 12 bright watercolors, six gel pens, six markers, one paintbrush, a 20-page art pad and a technique guide; the Watercolor Blends and Ink Mash-Up Art Pack, complete with two fine-line pens, eight watercolor pastels, one water brush pen, a 20-page art pad, and a techniques guide; the Batik FX Mash-Up Art Pack, complete with 10 watercolor paint tubes, 12 oil pastels, masking tape, water brush pen, 25-page art pad, palette and a techniques guide; and the Paint and Pastel Mash-Up Art Pack, complete with 10 acrylic paint tubes, 12 chalk pastels, three brushes, a 25-page art pad, palette and a techniques guide.

While summer camps aren’t new for Art Feeds, this will be the first time a virtual camp has been offered.

“For years, we’ve done our camps and workshops in person, so we have a ton of experience in doing them,” says Bourne. “But when we sort of shifted Art Feeds to Art Feeds International and had a wider range of programming in a lot of different areas, we didn’t really know how to do it. ‘How can we be inclusive?’ Covid-19 taught people that things can happen online, so that gave us the opportunity to build a camp that is accessible to anyone, anywhere. We’ve partnered with our friends at I Heart Art supplies — they give us 5% of the proceeds of the art supplies they sell anywhere in the country. We picked out our four favorite kits and built the lessons around them.”

The camp costs $175, but the Art Feeds website has cost-cutting suggestions like ordering one Art Camp in a Box for a group of kids and ordering extra supplies through I Heart Art. There are also scholarships available. And, as with all of the Art Feeds programs that charge tuition, the funds raised go right back into the Art Feeds coffers, helping reach kids all over the world. Last year, the nonprofit impacted 27,000 students during the school year.


Art Feeds Camp in a Box:

Artist Detectives

WHEN — All online resources will go live on June 26; kits will ship by July 1


COST — $175; scholarships available


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