Colors explode at art camp

Published 9:29 pm Friday, August 10, 2012

Instructor Sandee Darden helps children glue colorful plastic beads during a Suffolk Art League summer camp at Suffolk Art Gallery Friday.

As she reminds her charges that neatness counts, it’s easy to understand how Sandee Darden would be tired of trying to channel the inner Picassos of elementary-age children.

“You are going to go all the way around the edge of it so you have a nice border of these beads,” Darden instructs her young students. “Where should the glue not go? Should it go on the table?”

“Noooooo,” the children reply in unison.

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“No, it shouldn’t go on the table,” Darden confirms.

After a week of painting, T-shirt tie-dying and more than a little bead-gluing, Suffolk Art League’s summer art camp came to an end Friday at the Suffolk Art Gallery. But Darden doesn’t seem nearly as overwhelmed as one might expect.

“It has been such an enjoyable week,” Darden said, turning aside from her charges for a moment while an assistant took the reins. “The children are really fantastic and really love what they’re doing, and it makes it a joy to come to work.”

Alexis Underwood, 7, said she most enjoyed making a scrapbook. “It was the first time I have made one,” she said.

William Mullin, 8, said “snack” was his favorite part of the camp, while Teya Hagy, 8, attending with her brother Cael Hagy, 6, said, “We’re going to get sprayed with a hose today, and we’re to eat ice pops.”

Elaborating on the experience, Teya Hagy said that creating notebooks and sun catchers were her favorite projects.

Cael Hagy said, “It’s fun. We made some tie-dyed shirts (with) like horses and lots of different things. You can get messy.”

Darden, explaining that this year’s theme was “color explosions,” said, “We have really worked with all kinds of media exploring color. Right now, they are working on fireworks. It’s really about the mixed media and working with different things that kids might not otherwise be exposed to.”

The camp was one of an array of art league art classes and workshops during the summer. They were about more than just fun, Executive Director Linda Bunch said.

“We want them to have fun, but we have talked a lot about colors; primary colors, secondary colors, what happens when you mix colors,” she said. “They made collages and they also used watercolors and pastels.”

The camp warms the kids up for the new school year and “gets them back into the mood to work with other children.”

For Darden, a King’s Fork Middle School teacher, it was her sixth year of instructing the classes.

“This is the only time of the year I can work with little kids,” she said. “It’s an exhausting week, and I’m glad to go back to middle school.”