Kids learn joy of art in the wild at summer camp

April 9, 2013 9:00 AM

Fran Simon

The Kids in the Woods summer camp at A Studio in the Woods, a program of Tulane University, is an experience like none other. Young campers take daily nature walks in the woods and on the levee; make peanut butter from scratch or ice cube tray popsicles using local produce during snack time; and engage in hands-on art and nature activities.

Kids in the Woods campers

Campers look at insects that were brought to the Kids in the Woods summer camp by Tulane public health student entomologists for a hands-on nature lesson last year. (Photo from A Studio in the Woods)

Outdoor educator Amy Zellweger and artists Jane Hill and Laura Richens will return as instructors.

Richens, curator in the Carroll Gallery of the Newcomb Art Department at Tulane, has worked with campers on projects that integrate the environment of the bottomland hardwood forest with art-making, including writing poetry, creating drawings and paintings, and developing site-specific installations that the campers have placed around the forest.  

Richens says, “It’s a terrific environment in which to observe and discuss the web of life, for example, and that richness of living creatures — whether it’s the catfish in the pond, the shield ferns, caterpillars, the sweet gum trees, the hummingbirds and cardinals, the occasional owl, armadillos — that variety gives us so much subject matter for artistic creations.”

On the last day of camp, parents are invited to view the campers’ projects.

“No matter what art project we do, whether it is in ceramics, or assemblage, or making shekeres out of huge gourds, or sand paintings, or puppets, they will take the project in directions that I could not have even imagined. I have learned to be open to that experimentation, and to strive for that joy in my own art-making as well.”

The camp for children 6 to 11 years old will be held from June 3–28 from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., and the cost is $600 per child. For more information, contact A Studio in the Woods by email.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu