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Enrichment camp brings art to students

The summer Enrichment programs have begun at U.S. Jones Elementary School, and this week finds the participants learning about art.

Demopolis artist Kirk Brooker is providing instruction to students taking part in the art camp, which range from kindergarten to fifth grade.

Elsie Collins, Carolyn Moore and Amelia Mackey are leading the camps, which are teaching everything from art history and techniques to decoupage, stained glassworks and using household items like potatoes, sponges and tiles to paint pictures.

“We are having a lot of fun!” Mackey said. “The thing about it is: everything we do is a process and everything has to dry. We haven’t finished our stained-glass dragonflies yet because they’re still drying.

“We’re trying to expose them to a lot. Now, we have the artist here, Kirk Brooker, and we’re going to have Joyce Huizinga on Wednesday and Friday, and she’s going to do weaving with them. They’re going to make cell phone covers, and she has a wonderful thing where she has outlines of people holding hands with weaving in the middle.”

Brooker is not only showing the students how to draw or paint, but also providing education about art and artists to the camp participants.

“I had grades 2 through 5 today,” he said on Tuesday. “I wanted to introduce them to an artist; my idea was to introduce them to Picasso. So many adults seem to think that Picasso was not a great artist. They look at his works and say, ‘Oh, I could do that.’

“So, what I introduced the kids to was his early work, which is proof that he knew how to draw. What he did after that was take all of that knowledge and came up with a whole new movement. I introduced the students to Picasso and cubism and made it their own through these projects. So, now, they’re going home with an idea of who Picasso was — whether they like him or not — but at least, they know Picasso now: some of his work and what he was known for.”

Brooker showed the students on Tuesday how to do contour drawings as well as blind contour drawings, where they did not look at the paper as they drew. At first, they drew pictures of pairs in the blind contour drawing, and then they had fun drawing pictures of their classmates.

“Now, we’re going to introduce them to oil pastels — more of the color and full cubism style and movement,” he said.

“The kids really eat this up. They’re having fun, no matter what they’re doing with it. They all get different things out of it. When they’re at this age, they are still young enough to where they don’t think that they ‘can’t’ do things. The older you get, the more you say, ‘Oh, I can’t draw,’ ‘I can’t paint.’ If you did, you might surprise yourself.

“That’s what’s fun about these young students,” he said. “They are all excited about doing it.”

The art camp will continue through Friday at U.S. Jones Elementary School.