Camping for Art; 4-day sessions open the arts to kids

Published 7:40 am Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Austin ArtWorks Center is no stranger to kids introducing the arts to the kids of Austin and Mower County and for the third year in a row, they are taking an extra step during the summer.

The center is offering two four day-long camps geared specifically towards bringing the arts and kids together.

This past week those taking part got to know some of the famous artists from history and next week they will take a tour through the world’s most famous museums through. Virtual tour.

Email newsletter signup

“We want to make the arts successful in Mower County,” said Laura Helle, executive director  for the Austin Area Arts. “For a lot of families we wanted to make this affordable.”

Beth Hamilton helps kids with their projects.

During the school year, these kinds of classes are held on Saturday, but during the summer the center is able to pull together these camps, which lend themselves to a certain kind of flexibility.

Each class is $5 per child and families can either choose to sign up for one day, or they can go about taking the entire week.

“It’s really flexible, and allows us to serve many families, “ Helle said.

What makes this program even better is having an artist in residence who can lead the classes.

Beth Hamilton recently returned from time spent in Portland, Oregon. The artist, who currently is specializing in ceramics and collage art, is leading both camps for the summer.

“I just think it’s great for the community to offer these classes, “ Hamilton said.  “I hope [the kids] go away and remember [the artists] were famous for. “

Norah Diekman, right, and Laelia Viehauser work on their pieces.

The success of the classes are reflected in the participation from kids in the community.

“There’s high interest, “ Helle said.  “We’re running at about 60 percent filled.  “I’m happy with the response from the public. We’re happy to see such a variety of households attending. “

The important aspect of these camps can also be seen as something so simple as introduction and getting these young artists involved.

“We want to meet the child where they are at, “ Helle said.

It’s also a nice way to continue using the arts to bring the community together.

“Absolutely, “ Helle said.  “We’ve observed in Austin that kids are a nice bridge bringing communities together. It’s a good opportunity to bring new people in our doors.”

Banning Korfhage goes to work on his project during the first day of the Kids Studio Art History Camp at the Austin Artworks Center Tuesday.
Photos by Eric Johnson/

Almost to festival

Helle said that progress toward this year’s Austin ArtWorks Festival, to be held on Aug. 25-26, is coming along nicely.

Helle confirmed that 67 artists will be on display this year, the largest number ever for the festival and excitement is growing for Charlie Parr’s performance as well as the Schindler Celebration Concert featuring Puddles Pity Party.

So far 341 tickets have been sold of the 622 available.

“It’s really exciting, “ Helle said as the show nears sell-out.