The Ann Arbor Art Center (A2AC) has announced three virtual art camps for the Ann Arbor Public Schools' fall, winter, and mid-winter breaks.
Jean Spindler, A2AC's youth programs manager, expects that the camps will be "a hit with anyone who has a child between the ages of 5-12 needing something to do."
"With so many people being limited to having to stay inside, we thought it would be great to offer something that would be fun and creative," she says.
Spindler says launching the camps was an easy decision after A2AC received feedback from parents who enrolled their youngsters in the organization's virtual summer art camps earlier in the year.
"We sent out surveys and they came back glowing," she said. "Parents loved that their kids were engaged and were able to connect with other kids in their groups."
Like the inaugural A2AC virtual summer camp, each of the upcoming three-day themed camps will be hosted on Zoom. There will be one project per day along with icebreakers, quick games, instructor feedback, and live demonstrations.
Virtual campers will receive an "ArtBox" filled with project materials and most of the supplies needed to complete their projects. Spindler says parents with concerns about adding more screen time to their children's days will appreciate that each project also comes with written instructions.
"We recognize that children need some flexibility. So they can choose to follow the written instructions at their own pace or maybe go back and look at a class recording at a different time," she adds.
Details of each camp are listed online. Some highlights include working with polymer clay to create a woodland creature, making a mini rainforest diorama, and creating a treasure box.
"Kids can't seem to get enough of polymer clay, so we're really excited about offering a sculpting activity," Spindler explains. "Kids who also love functional items and like to personalize things will love adding their own special touch to their treasure box."
She stresses that while the camps may be relatively short, these art-related activities make a difference for families navigating the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Making art is a much-needed outlet for expression. It can be an escape for some and a way of processing thoughts and feelings for others," she says. "It's a little break from everything else going on around us."
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of A2AC.