June 19, 2014 in Washington Voices

STEAM camp is a magnet for young artists

By The Spokesman-Review
Tyler Tjomsland photoBuy this photo

Second-grader Alexis Griswold, 7, laughs with her teacher, Sami Perry at East Farms STEAM Magnet School as they make clay sculptures on Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

School may have ended for students last week, but some of them have returned to East Farms STEAM Magnet School for art camp.

“Whatever your imagination can think of, it’s the right answer,” the school’s resident artist Sami Perry told students from around the area Monday.

The camp is from 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday this week and next. There will be a second session July 7 through 18.

“We’ll do everything art,” Perry said, making the distinction between art and crafts. Students will learn the fundamentals of art, design and color theory.

On Monday, students took inspiration from the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” creating their own “foodimals.” Ethan Thompson, who will be a fifth-grader at Chester Elementary in the Central Valley School District next year, drew what he called a “Tacozilla,” using a taco to make the mouth. When the students finished with their designs, they worked on creating a clay sculpture of them, which will be dried, fired and glazed before the camp is complete.

He said his favorite form of art is sculpting.

“I like how you can make anything you want, just make it your way,” Thompson said.

Later in the week, students worked with watercolors, learning to stretch the paper as well as paint brush techniques. They will learn about papier-mâché, pen and ink drawing and more. By the end of the camp, they will have six to eight projects to take home, and on the last day, students will invite friends and families to the school for an exhibit. They will make their own invitations using a print maker.

To take the camp, parents pay $90 to cover the cost of supplies. Perry said the second session is already full.

Perry said this is the sixth year of the camp, but this year students can create while using equipment the school was able to purchase through almost $43,000 in grants from the Hagan Foundation. There are new raised art tables that don’t wiggle, stools, kilns for glass and clay and more supplies.

She said art is important because it teaches problem-solving and encourages individuality.

Izzy O’Rielly, a 9-year-old going into the fourth grade at Liberty Lake Elementary School, said she likes “that you can choose what you want to do.”

Her twin sister, Teagan, agreed.

“I like that, basically, you can draw anything and everything.”

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email