In this age of electronics, with more young eyeballs becoming virtually glued to smartphones by the day, the Children’s Summer Art Camp at the Brownwood Art Center provides a welcome change of pace.
Claudette West has hosted the camp for four years and Candace Cooksey Fulton, a former Bulletin reporter who now lives in San Angelo, returned to town this week to offer assistance. Tuesday marked the first of three days of camp as the duo hosts three sessions daily for children ages 4-6, 7-9, and 10-13 at the art center.
“My parents allowed me to be a creative child,” Fulton said. “For me to see children use their imaginations, that’s something we’re losing. When they start young and learn that there’s possibilities to use materials and paint and things like that, or to make a monster out of a plastic bottle, that helps them with their problem solving thinking skills throughout life. A child learning to sequence and do things in order is a big deal.”
West shared similar sentiments, saying, “I love to see them create, and it’s good to see them get away from electronics.”
Fulton, who has demonstrated how to build monsters out of recyclable bottles at the Stars of Texas in previous years, will spend the week teaching campers how to make creatures of their own.
“It all started about six years ago when I was volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club in San Angelo and they were running wild and needed things to do and there wasn’t a big budget,” Fulton said of the start of her monster-making days. “With the younger ones, we go with the monsters because you don’t have to have perfect balance. You don’t have to have two perfect, matching eyes, so everything’s a success.”
More than 30 kids attended the first day of camp, which concludes Thursday. Those interested can attend for just $10 a day. The sessions are ages 4-6 from 10 to 11 a.m., ages 7-9 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and ages 10-13 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Another three-day session is scheduled for July 23-25 and again is open to ages 4-6, 7-9 and 10-13. The cost is $25 for all three days, or $10 for one day, and all supplies are furnished. Classes are limited to 20 campers.
“We usually do a little bit of everything. We guide them with different activities, but we pretty much let the children do what they want to do,” West said. “I love to give children an opportunity to create. A lot of parents work and don’t have time to get paint out. They would love to do these things with them, but by the time they get home and fix supper they’re tired and they usually just watch TV or play together. They love for them to make messes here.”
West also teaches art classes throughout the school year both to children and adults.
“There are a lot of people in Brownwood that don’t we have this,” West said. “I teach children’s art classes during the school year and I usually have six to eight children, but they come and go because of sports and other things. I also teach adults in the evenings.”
For more information on the art camp or art classes, contact West at (512) 940-1713.
The Brownwood Art Center is located at 215 Fisk Avenue.