A Week at the Museum

Summer art camps come with creative projects for children ages 4 to 12

Want a story-driven, beautifully creative camping experience? Head to the Dallas Museum of Art.

The DMA offers summer camps for children ages 4 to 12 starting in June and ending at the beginning of August.

Each camp will be a week long and vary based on age range and interest in art.

Leah Hanson, the director of family, youth, and school programs at the DMA, called the camps one of her favorite programs offered by the museum.

“It gives children the chance to learn without the pressure that school normally brings with it,” she said.

Most of the camps are either a half-day in the morning or afternoon, but older children have the option of doing both a morning and afternoon session. The children for that program also get lunch and playtime.

The youngest children will have options that relate art to storybooks. They will learn how the pictures and words interact to create an experience. Museum staff will then take campers to the gallery to see how what they have seen in the storybooks relates to art.

“What makes the camps different is that the kids spend time in the gallery with the permanent and special exhibitions getting that time to really take in the art,” Hanson said.

Older children will have more advanced classes based on their level of interest in art.

Those with higher interest will have options for learning appropriate art techniques. A Richardson ISD art teacher will be coming in to help campers learn how to paint. Students will learn about composition, creating colors, and brush techniques.

“The kids get to gain new experiences and learn that they have their own important perspective,” she said.

It’s more than just painting camps for the kids. Each age group gets a story-based experience to see how art allows people to communicate personal experiences to one another. The students get to practice what they have learned by doing a project for the end of the camp.

Children ages 6 to 8 will work with Shelley Hampe, who teaches at the Creative Art Center for the DMA.

Hampe helped students create accordion-style storybooks at a previous camp.

Children ages 9 to 12 have the option of a course called Behind The Scenes, where they will learn how to create costumes, design a set, and write a play. They get to perform the play at the end of the camp.

The camps also benefit parents and guardians, who need places for their children to stay and learn during the summer, and the museum, which wants to introduce art to more age groups, Hanson said. “We want the kids to know that art museums can be fun and more than just a place with a lot of rules like no touching the exhibit.”

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