Teaching kids to love art

The 2019 ArtSpace Camp staff interns helped educate more than 350 students throughout the summer.

The 22nd annual ArtSpace Summer Art Camp concluded Friday, July 26 with a total enrollment of 355 students, a modest 2% increase over last year’s attendance of 347. The free program provided 5,000 contact hours of free art education and employed 13 staff members and interns, driving more than $20,000 into the local economy.

ArtSpace is free for students who attend school in Aransas County, and $75 for those who attend school outside the county. Eight camp sessions lasting one week each were open to children who will enter grades 1st through 8th this fall. This year’s theme was The Golden Phase, a nod to the organization’s 50th anniversary through a variety of art activities that engaged children in different mediums.

For the third consecutive year, the Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA) collaborated with the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio by employing three interns from the School’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program to augment our local camp staff. The BFA program was formed by the Southwest School of Art in 2012.

“The three interns, Joey Rivera, Walden Booker and Yenifer Gavina worked very hard to infuse their own artistic expertise into the camp curriculum, designing engaging and authentic projects for the participants,” said RCA Director of Education Karen Ernst.

“These are paid internships, and their lodging is completely underwritten thanks to the many generous grants ArtSpace receives every year,” said RCA Executive Director Luis Purón. “We are very excited that this collaboration has strengthened the bond between our two institutions.”

Plans to continue this collaboration in 2020 are already underway.

Research shows that students who engage in arts education perform better in the classroom, on standardized tests, and are less likely to dropout or experience truancy. Early arts education helps students develop self-discipline, confidence, cooperation, and self-motivation needed for high achievement in school.

This year, ArtSpace received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Texas Women for the Arts, The Margaret Sue Rust Foundation, the Nystrom Family Foundation, the Coastal Bend Community Foundation, the Blanch Davis Moore Foundation, the Les and Mary Pucket Foundation, and individual donors. The long-standing program is also supported by its own endowment.

The rewards of ArtSpace to the community cannot be overstated. The camp provides local children with free access to high quality instruction in art history, art theory, culture, and the visual arts; all of which helps students improve overall emotional wellbeing and performance in school.

“This year, the response towards ArtSpace from the community has been incredible, extremely positive, and un-matched,” said Ernst.

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