Friday, June 14 — Starting next week, the Broad Museum’s Summer Art Camp series will introduce local youngsters to the world of contemporary art, supplanting traditional pine cone owl projects and friendship bracelets with gallery-ready pieces created under the guidance of professional art educators.
“This isn’t arts and crafts,” said Aimee Shapiro, the director of education at the museum. “This is hands-on art. We want children to think conceptually.”
Summer art camps on the campus of Michigan State University began in 1985 at the Kresge Art Museum, but moved under the Broad banner last year ahead of the museum’s opening in November. The camp will have four sessions — doubling previous years’ due to popularity — with two classes for grades 1 through 3, and two classes for grades 4 through 6. Each session features 25 campers, and run from next week through mid-July.
Classes will be taught by Anne Grevstad-Nordbrock and Emily Nott, along with a group of volunteers that include docents. Some Michigan State University fine arts students will help out, too.
“I'll give direction, but I'm not going to say this is how you get from point A to point B,” said Grevstad-Nordbrock, who will make this summer her second as an art camp counselor. “It's a great opportunity for children to do critical thinking, be creative and tap into their artistic impulses.”
Each day will have campers looking at art, including Broad’s “Pattern: Follow the Rules” exhibit and the museum's architecture, and then having a discussion about it. They will then come back to the education wing in the Broad and make art.
Some projects include drawing a comic strip for the older campers, who will also get a tour of the MSU library's comic book archives. Younger campers will get a chance to work with textile art. At the end of each week, participants will have their work displayed in the education wing of the museum, allowing them to their own opening — something that takes some artists much longer to accomplish.
"This is a really special opportunity for kids in the Lansing area," Grevstad-Nordbrock said.
Grevstad-Nordbrock, who received her master’s degree and in art history from the University of Wisconsin, taught at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisc. for three years.
“Some of the conversations I’ve had with children about art rival those that I’ve had with college students,” she said. “Kids are really smart and they're really perceptive.”
Grevstad-Nordbrock hopes this camp will give campers a newfound appreciation for going to a museum and seeing a connection between themselves and the works.
“(That way) there isn't this huge gulf between them as sort of a small person and these big museum institutions,” she said.
Nott, an MSU senior double majoring in the Residential College of Arts and Humanities and arts education, will serve as an assistant teacher to Grevstad-Nordbrock. She said going to art camp as a kid did all the things Grevstad-Nordbrock hopes for these campers.
“That art exposure as a child shaped who I am,” Nott said. “Any time I'm teaching, I really hope (the students) are not just making, but thinking. That's something this camp really stresses.”
When asked if she would send her children to a camp like this, Nott was emphatic.
“I want to surround my kids with art,” she said. “And I think that the Broad is doing that for parents.”
There are still some slots available. For more information or to register, go to broadmsusummerartcamp.eventbrite.com.
Broad MSU Summer Art Camp 2013
Four one-week sessions, running June 17–July 12
$125 ($100 for week of July 1)
Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum
547 E. Circle Drive, East Lansing