By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
A donation from a local college, and a recently-acquired grant to a local arts council, mean a bigger Kids College Art Camp this summer in Barbourville.
The 11th annual event will be held June 16-18 on the Union College campus.
The college announced they would provide complimentary space for the art camp, which is organized by the Knox Arts, Crafts and Humanities Council.
Along with Union’s in-kind donation, the camp will be expanded because of the Knox arts council receiving an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Flex-E-Grant, estimated at $7,300. That ARC grant came through the Kentucky Department for Local Government. It’s administered by the Brushy Fork Institute of Berea College.
Dianne Simpson, President of the Knox Arts, Crafts and Humanities Council, noted that expanding the camp was the reason they applied for the grant.
“The grant allows us to pay the artists and cover the costs, like materials, housing and the expenses associated with the event. Last year we had 73 enrolled. This year, we’re hoping to have more than 120 enrolled. We’re also looking at around nine participating artists to be there, compared to four last year,” Simpson said in an interview Friday.
With the camp being bigger there will be some changes from previous years.
Simpson pointed out, “Last year the children spent around four hours with an artist. This year the kids will be with six artists will spend around three-and-a-half hours with an artist. Last year, the kids rotated daily between four artists. This year the children will be working in a block of time with one artist to complete a project.”
The new schedule allows each student to work with two different artists per day. Their parents can choose if they want their child to attend all three days, working with six different artists, or pick which day or days they want their child to attend and pay for the day or days they want. At the end of the session, the work with that artist will be completed.
The arts council also noted if everything goes as planned at the camp, there would be a special surprise for those participating on Wednesday afternoon, June 18.
Simpson mentioned students have the opportunity to study art forms alongside experienced artists at the camp, which shows the importance of the arts and represents the value of the arts in their lives.
“What makes the camp so special? With the cutbacks in school budgets, one of the first things that goes is the arts, especially on the elementary level. We feel like the creativity of the children needs to be encouraged, and the arts do that. We try to cover all disciplines of the arts — drama, dance, music and visual arts. We feel like we’re helping to fill a void. We can’t totally do it in three days, it’s a bigger job than that. But we feel that arts education is very important to our young people,” she said.
Simpson — a professional artist and juried member of the Kentucky Craft Market — is one of the artists participating in this year’s camp.
Others include Judy Sizemore, an arts education consultant for the Kentucky Center for the Arts, the Kentucky Educational Television Foundation, the Kentucky Arts Council and the Berea College Partners in Education; Mitch Barrett, a professional musician and recipient of prestigious songwriting awards; Lesa Gieringer, a professional potter and owner of Powdermilll Pottery; and Bob Montgomery, a professional artist and owner of Wolf Gap Mountain Forge.
Also scheduled to be at the camp are Octavia Sexton, a professional storyteller and Eastern Kentucky native; Alfredo Escobar, a professional artist; Susan Mullins, a Mohawk from the Kahnawake reserve in Canada and professional musician and craftsperson specializing in Native American Arts; and Malke Rosenfeld, a veteran percussive dance teaching artist and developer of the “Math in Your Feet” and “Math by Design” curriculum.
The cost for the camp is $25 per day, with a special discount to those attending all three days, and those who attended the camp in past years.
For more information, you can visit the Knox Arts, Crafts and Humanities Council’s Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Knox-Arts-Crafts-and-Humanities-Council.
You can also visit Union College’s website at unionky.edu, then click on “Academics,” then “Kids College Arts Camp,” or call Robin Jones at the Rainbow Center at (606) 546-3338.