Second Annual Art Camp Exposes Sonoma Youngsters to Classic Arts and Artists
Classic fine art, and European and American artists recognized as giants of Western Culture, were brought to life for nearly 30 students, ages five to eleven, during a week-long series of arts classes held this summer at Trinity Episcopal Church in Sonoma.
The curricula blended historical instruction with context and hands-on, kid-friendly projects inspired by the master artists. It featured daily “visits” to European countries and artists, as well as opportunities to emulate their styles and works. The visits included: Monday - Rome, Italy, with Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino), Pope Julius II, and Michelangelo (Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni); Tuesday and Wednesday - Paris, France, with Primitive Post-Impressionist Henri Rousseau (to include a blessing of the animals by Trinity’s Priest-in-Charge, the Canon Rev. Jim Thomas); Thursday ~ Germany, with Swiss Expressionist-Bauhaus-Surrealist Paul Klee, and the Netherlands with Dutch tessellationist and printmaker M.C. Escher; and Friday assessing the masters’ cross-culture influence ~ first, in Spain with Catalonian Surrealist Salvador Dali, and then back to the U.S.A., with Cincinnati-based American Modernist printmaker Charley Harper.
“It was a marvelous experience,” said Trinity Sunday School Coordinator, Sally Thomas, adding, “We had the opportunity to expose kids from our parish and their friends to selected ‘Old Masters,’ and in the process maybe produce a generation of our own, home-grown ‘New Masters’!”
The program was led by Lori Holmann (BA-Arts Education, Wright State Univ.; GATE graduate studies, University of South Florida), a Tampa, Fla.-based, retired pre-kindergarten teacher. Ms. Holmann was assisted by her good friend and partner in art, Mary Whyte.
Ms. Holmann had coordinated a similar program during the summer of 2014 for her own grandchildren and their friends in Florida. Ms. Thomas described the curricula to Trinity’s vestry last year, and they enthusiastically agreed to the proposal. That “trial” undertaking in 2015, with 18 students, was successful, with word of the fun exposure to art and art-related activities spreading throughout the community.
As he did last year, Fr. Thomas got into the mood, playing the role, replete in canonical vestments, of Pope Julius-II (1443-1513), the Vatican art patron, who commissioned the rebuilding of St. Peter’s Basilica, and Michelangelo’s decoration of the Sistine Chapel. “The Church played a formative role in the art of the Renaissance,” he noted, “And we thought it was important for the children to understand that.”
Assisted this year by ten Trinity parishioner volunteers, the youngsters had the unique opportunity to replicate painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel: painting while lying on their backs, underneath pews in the church sacristy.
This year students also had the chance to pursue a “multi-media” undertaking: painting t-shirts with their own unique design interpretations, and engaging in inter-active dialog with each other and instructors while describing the meaning and design behind their own paintings. Returning art students noted how much they enjoyed reconnecting with kids they had met and become friends with at the summertime camp last year.
To defray cost of art materials (and snacks!) camp students’ families paid $50.00per child for the hands-on instructional art experience. Some children attended courtesy of parishioners’ generous “scholarships.” And at the conclusion of the week-long arts camp, each student artist received a handsome “suitcase” (a portfolio of their artwork to take home), replete with stickers they decorated depicting highlights representative of the countries they’d “visited.”
In addition to their newly acquired fine arts skills, Ms. Holmann was pleased to note that the Trinity Art Camp students went home with new friendships and had also learned important lessons in group listening and team learning.
Click here to visit Trinity, Sonoma's Facebook page to view more images from this summer's art camp.