PARKERSBURG - The Parkersburg Art Center kicked off its annual summer arts program Camp Creativity on Monday, offering a chance for children of all ages to learn about different types of art.
The art camp program - which runs for nine weeks with different age groups offered each week - is as popular with parents as it is with the children who participate.
"We're really excited about it because a lot of the programs seem to be more designed around day care aspects, while this one seems to be more about the creative aspects," said Mineral Wells resident Allen Azar, whose 5-year-old daughter Ella started the program on Monday. "I like that a lot."
Cara McIntyre, back, a volunteer with the Camp Creativity program at the Parkersburg Art Center, helps art campers Ali Evans, left, and Selina VanGent with their clay projects Monday at the art center. (Photo by Wayne Towner)
Azar said his daughter has been in a couple of other art programs and was looking forward to this week's classes at the art center.
"She was very excited about coming," he said.
Christalyn Oakes, of Mineral Wells, brought her daughter, Adilyn, 4, to Camp Creativity after experiencing some of the ArtStart programs offered through the art center.
"We liked the teachers and just the artistic aspect of it," Oakes said.
"They're phenomenal and there's always a good ratio of adults to children. They're always watched and taken care of," she said of the camp program.
Patrycja Cantwell, of Parkersburg, has been bringing her children to Camp Creativity for a couple of years. This is the first year for her younger child, 4-year-old Alex, but her older son, Gabriel, 7, has taken drawing and clay classes and has gone through Camp Creativity for the last three years.
She calls Camp Creativity an "excellent program." for the younger children and said it provides a good introduction to what kindergarten is like and also expands their minds through the arts.
"I think it gives them wonderful opportunities to explore art, especially during the summer season," Cantwell said of the camp program.
This week's camp for 4- and 5-year-olds is full, but openings remain in the next preschool session, which falls in August, said camp director Jessie Siefert.
Each week of camp will feature programming tailored for the preschool ages, kids entering first-through-third grades and those entering fourth-through-sixth grades. There will also be two weeks of classes for teens from seventh-through-12th grades.
Participants will rotate through three classrooms each day of the week, learning different lessons, skills and techniques in each in various mediums, including painting, drawing, clay and others.
On Fridays the campers all wear their personalized souvenir T-shirts, Siefert said. Family and friends are invited to see the week's artwork on display.
Camp Creativity is made possible by grants from the Henry Logan Children's Home Foundation, Williamstown Bank, Star Plastics, Kraton and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, art center director Abby Hayhurst said.
The sponsors make it possible to offer financial aid for campers, she said. Participants who qualify for free or reduced meals in school may qualify for the camp scholarships. Parents can learn about the financial aid programs by calling the art center at 304-485-3859.
The information including the Camp Creativity schedule is posted on the Art Center's website at www.parkersburgartcenter.org and on Facebook.
The schedule for the rest of Camp Creativity includes: