MILLIGAN COLLEGE –– The arts took over Milligan College this week as students age 7 to high school age infiltrated the campus for Summer Arts Camp and the Milligan College Fine Arts Summer Academy.
The corridors of Derthick Hall were not empty Wednesday afternoon as campers switched from class to class regularly, which included two art classes, a music class, drama, creative writing and creative movement.
The one-week program began Monday with 87 kids signed up.
Camp director Keith Hertzog said the camp is a way for elementary school children to have an opportunity to express their creativity.
“There’s so much energy and fun during this week,” he said. “Right now in education there’s such a push for academics that art gets ... set on the side shelf because it’s not a tested item. This gives an opportunity ... for an exploration of creativity and for students to explore that aspect of learning, and it’s a wonderful opportunity.”
Hertzog said the kids are being instructed by certified teachers who all follow the camp theme of “Summer Art at Summer Arts.” He said the theme is based around the feelings that come with the summer season and is reflected in the art each kid will create during the week.
In Ann Ferenbach’s art class, kids worked on self-portraits of how they would picture themselves looking underwater, Japanese print-based paintings using fish molds, lighthouse drawings and fantasy fun drawings revolving around summertime.
Marcia Ross’s creative movement class focused on choreography to summertime beats and Janet Hertzog worked on creative writing with the kids while also making plaques for wall hanging that incorporated lyrics from songs, poetry and quotes, as well as a message in a bottle to place somewhere on their individual creations.
Carlene Eastridge, camp coordinator and music teacher, taught her classes a summer tune to sing, as well as how to play various musical instruments to make the music.
Other teachers included drama teacher Dominic Aquilino, who helped his campers sketch out a mashed-up story for a sock puppet show, and Michelle O’Patrick-Ollis, art teacher, that showed her kids how to make stamps and tie- dye bandanas.
The kids in the program get to go swimming every day at Milligan’s indoor pool and are fed lunch in the McCormick Dining Center on campus.
Another art-related theme at Milligan is the Fine Arts Summer Academy hosted by the college.
“The arts academy is just a great way to incorporate the arts with local students and students from different states,” said Lauren Holt, director of the arts academy. “We have a music track, a digital media track and a theater track. All professors from each track specifically try to help each student improve in the arts, appreciate the arts a little bit more and they definitely help them get involved probably more than they were originally.”
Holt said the students in the summer academy, which will run through Friday, have also ventured off campus to Roan Mountain State Park and to a local farmer’s market to work on projects.
According to Holt, this program draws around 40 high school aged students from all over the country, including this year’s group from Colorado, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Alaska.
Stephanie Orr, a rising senior at Science Hill High School, said the program has really expanded her love for photography and her hopes to major in journalism in college.
“I’ve had a really great time. I met a lot of awesome people,” she said. “It’s a smaller group than a lot of other camps I’ve been to, so it’s more personal, I would say, and they have a lot of other activities so it’s not just straight sitting in a classroom listening to a professor for 20 hours. You’re actually going out and incorporating what you’ve learned.”
In the program, students get to participate in hands-on activities and workshops, worship and devotion time, free time around town, as well as work on projects relating to music, stage and multimedia platforms and performances.
Dr. Dennis Elkins, theater professor at Milligan, brought his students into the McGlothlin-Street Theatre at the Gregory Center on Wednesday afternoon to work on and act out something they had been working on in the classroom.
The week will conclude with each student showcasing the work they’ve done at the camp Friday either at 5:30 p.m. for digital photography and graphic design projects or at 6 p.m. for music and theater performances in the McGlothlin-Street Theatre.
Holt said she feels the academy program can really enhance a student artist’s ability, as well as expose them to campus life.
“It’s a great thing, especially for high school students. I don’t think there are many camps ...around here that do what this arts academy does,” Holt said. “I think they’re having fun and learning a lot.”
Students in the academy could also receive dual-enrollment college credit from the program.
The campers will also be sharing their art-related activities and work at a closing program Friday at 3 p.m. in the Mary B. Martin Auditorium in Seeger Memorial Chapel.
Both events are free and open to the public.