The often-unforgiving West Texas summer heat easily lends itself to an escape from the great outdoors. As such, one expects to find plenty of opportunities to settle into the air conditioning and watch one of the many entertainment channels. This year, however, many Lubbock children, ages 8-14, in foster care embraced an opportunity to hone their skills as budding artists at smART camps.
The Lubbock Arts Alliance, in partnership with the Texas Tech University International Cultural Center K-12 Global Education Outreach (TTU GEO), One Heart Foster Alliance, and Monterrey Church of Christ, provided three weeks of lessons in art from around the world.
Through learning about international cultures and creating different works of art each week, students traveled to the continents of Africa and India, and learned about art and architecture crafted in the North African Moroccan culture, the Holi Festival and painted elephants fashioned in India, and studying beading and mask-making practiced in Africa.
For the first camp, the TTU GEO instructors taught the students about symmetry and patterns that are a part of Moroccan culture. The students designed a symmetrical pattern on a tile; then, on a larger piece of paper, the kids made an asymmetrical design and painted it with watercolor. Students also created artwork based on Moroccan architecture, crafted a mandala using image transfer, and observed Moroccan animals that inspired artwork using pointillism.
The following week at the second camp, the TTU GEO discussed Holi Festival traditions such as color-throwing and painting elephants. The students created designs on an elephant printout, and even did their own Holi Festival color-throw using brightly colored corn starch. Over the course of this second week’s camp, kids made a drawing of their own elephant and designed it with silver paint and watercolor, created artwork depicting gods and goddesses which they painted with acrylic paint, produced a pointillism painting using imagery from India, and painted a still-life on canvas from observation.
For the last camp, instructors from the TTU GEO led instruction on the various cultures and artistic techniques from the continent of Africa. The smART campers made hand-made beads using assorted colors of duct tape; they also enjoyed painting wooden beads and making necklaces and bracelets of their own design. Additionally, students handmade masks from paper mache using balloons, newspaper, and Mod Podge; they then had a chance to paint their masks.
Thank you for incredible summer memories Texas Tech University International Cultural Center K-12 Global Education Outreach, One Heart Foster Alliance, and Monterrey Church of Christ! Without the work of your organizations, this dream could not have become a reality: incredible camps designed to serve local children in foster care by enriching their lives through arts education. The smART camp series was a remarkable assembly of aspiring smARTists in the South Plains.