Wildfire to offer camp, mosaics project to encourage youth to get involved in summer art

Courtesy photo – Local children enjoy making Valentines Day cards during a class offered in February. The Wildfire Community Arts Center presents classes, camps and an open studio for youth.

By Shelley Widhalm

The Surveyor

To get youth interested in the arts this summer, the Wildfire Community Arts Center figured the three Ds and some concrete might work.

The three Ds of dancing, drawing and drumming will be offered in a camp setting for youth 7-12, while the mosaics project featuring a concrete bench and glass will be for the older youth.

“We offer it for the kids in the community to be able to come do something they’ve been wanting to try to do and to give them things to do in Berthoud,” said Lory Ohs, executive director of the Wildfire Community Arts Center, 425 Massachusetts Ave.

The summer camp will be offered over two weeks June 4-14, Monday to Thursday. The lessons, which will be an hour long from 9 a.m. to noon, will be woven together for an interdisciplinary approach and combined with activities in nature.

“Our camp is going to be nature-based, encompassing stones and sticks and trees and the wind,” Ohs said. “We’re going to try to make everything focused and centered around nature.”

For instance, some of the dance movements will be free flowing to represent wind, water and trees, while the art projects will involve the making of rain sticks, wind chimes and painted rocks. With the drumming, some of the songs will be about nature and employ the rhythms and sounds that are heard in the natural world.

Dance instructor TheLea Brooks will teach dance, Keith Hancock will teach drumming, and Janelle Berbray will teach drawing, painting and other forms of art.

“What we’re trying to get across to these kids is that there are all forms of art, and they don’t have to feel like they have to stick to any one of them, they can cross over,” said Liz Kearney, board president and founder of Wildfire. “The creativity in any of them transfers.”

The idea of the camp is to introduce youth to different art forms in a coordinated curriculum, Kearney said. “We’re trying to get normal kids connected with their creative sides and give them the confidence to explore that.”

The camp will be $50 for the first child and $40 for siblings. Up to 15 youth can participate. Register at wildfirearts.org/calendar by May 15.

The other activity for youth this summer is the Mosaic Dragon Bench project Monday to Friday, June 11-15 and June 18-22, High school students will help build a concrete bench covered in mosaic tiles, creating a concrete bench in the shape of Wildfire’s mascot, the dragon. The students will work with Longmont mosaic artist Patricia Singelyn, who teaches classes for the City of Longmont and provided a commissioned piece for the town of Niwot.

The bench will look like a Chinese dragon with a long head and tail, complementing the dragon images on Wildfire’s building murals and free library box and giving a place for people to sit when they visit the center. The project is a Public Art Project that is part of Art in Public Places, adding public art to the community.

“They are going to actually participate in building the bench, and they will be adorning it with mosaic glass,” Ohs said. The youth will learn about the mosaic process and how to build something from design to the actual building.

“That project is a classic Wildfire project,” Kearney said, explaining Singelyn will be learning alongside the youth, figuring out how to assemble a bench. “It’s super cool to bring creative expression into concrete form, literally, and have the kids who worked on it drive by with their families, (saying) they helped make that bench.”

The project will be $75 per student, and the registration deadline is May 15. The project is geared for students ages 13-18, but adult volunteers also are welcome. Email admin@wildfirearts.org to register.

Also, the U-Create Studio will be open additional days during the summer, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Family memberships will be $25 for the summer, with $1 charge per visit for youth and $5 for adults. Otherwise, the rate will be $8 for youth and $10 for adults.

“I’m super excited about all of the offerings at Wildfire,” Kearney said. “We’re going to keep kids busy all summer with U-Create, the camp and the construction project out front.”

The camp and project are supported, in part, from a $4,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, which also supports the hiring of a summer intern. The grant helps keep the fee for the camp and program at a lower cost.

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