Art Adventures in Aaronsburg is an idea that my co-teacher Kevin Sims and I have been brewing up for a while. This week-long summer camp for ages 5 and up will build on 7+ years of experimental pedagogy here in East Penns Valley, with the aim of introducing local kids to the some of the master artists and craftspeople of Aaronsburg, past and present.
Meeting up at the Aaronsburg Community Building for a week in early August, we’ll focus on teaching skills that all artists & humans need: how to work in creative community, how to take inspiration from what’s around you, & how to bring an idea to fruition. We’ll take field trips to three local spots: The East Penns Valley Historical Museum, where we’ll study historical crafts on display; Aaronsburg Pottery, where we’ll play with clay and hear about the life of a working artist from potter Scot Patterson; and Dennison Press, where we’ll learn about printmaking from master printer Scott Dennison & try our hand at it, as well. Camp will culminate on Friday with a celebration of student works for family & friends to attend.
In the past, Kevin & I have taught an art camp at the Green Drake Gallery in Millheim & also after school art classes in Aaronsburg. This Art Adventures camp will bring together successful components of our past teaching, including walking field trips that are a key way to open up our local world to rural kids who don’t always have a chance to explore it & who may even feel that they live “nowhere.” One of our goals is to let our students know that we live somewhere, that they are surrounded by interesting histories and people, & that they themselves are in possession of all sorts of important regional skills & knowledge.
As we emerge from pandemic, this is also an exciting chance for us to work with kids in our neighborhoods who have “aged up” in recent years—including the children of mechanics and Mennonites, homeschoolers and district students, and kids from across the political spectrum.
Funded by State College, PA (May 2022)