By Stan Friedman
The two-week interactive event was for students who have completed first through fifth grades. Each day included five rotating 30-minute learning opportunities that carried the event’s theme: visual arts, drama, culinary arts, fabric arts, and music.
The themes carried the students from the beginning of civilization through the Renaissance. Art history also included sessions on “Impressionism to the Modern Era,” “American Art,” and multicultural studies. To see additional photos, see below.
Activities were tied with each part of history. They included daily dramas such as acting out one of Aesop’s Fables, “meeting” people of a particular era (like Leonardo Da Vinci), painting portraits, making oils and juices, sewing togas, and learning to play the recorder.
Parents were invited to attend each Friday’s lunch time to view an exhibition of the students’ work and watch a drama. To view a slideshow of photos from the two weeks, click here.
Pastor Jim DeGrado has explored the connection between art and spirituality for years. “I continue to be interested in the work of the Blue Rider group in Germany during the early 20th century who saw the initiation of their work to come from God’s Holy Spirit,” he says. “Van Gogh also wrote of similar thoughts about color.”
The name for the church’s event drew on the theme and location, says Chris Schneider, church secretary. “We decided that “Art Through the Ages” would be the focal point of the camp. Also our church is situated right in the center of the Audubon Park community, otherwise known as ‘APark, and so ArtInAPark was born.”
DeGrado says ArtInAPark was borne out of discussions through the 57-year-old church’s participation in Veritas. “In the last year as we entered into the Veritas process, we concentrated on seeing who we were rather than who we thought we should be,” he explains. “As we identified the needs of the community and the gifts of the church, an art program seemed to be a God-directed ministry.”
The community was given a chance to view the student’s work when the church hosted a barbecue for the neighborhood.
The church already is looking to expand the outreach. “We are in the process of turning it first into an after-school program with hopes to develop it as an intergenerational program of arts for all the ages,” says DeGrado, who taught culinary arts.
Instructors have extensive experience in each of the disciplines. DeGrado’s wife, Linda, is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her works have been included in juried shows and are held in private collections across the country.
Kathy Montoya taught drama to middle school students for many of her 34 years teaching in public schools. She received the Disney Teacherrific Award 10 times. Worship leader Paula Haney teaches music to kindergarten through fifth grade students. Barbara Gaskin is a seasoned artist with all kinds of fabrics.