Camp Blue Sky was off to a busy start Monday morning with approximately 255 eager students ready to learn about the science of art.
The yearly art camp hosted at State Fair Community College provides classes for children ages preschool through ninth grade. The theme this year is “Art is a Mad Science.”
The classes take in everything from storytelling, pottery, sculpture, painting and drawing to drama and music. The event will run through Friday.
“This is our 18th year,” Barbara Cooney, camp co-chair, said.
Cooney went on to say that enrollment for the camp is up this year. The Enrichment Class, which usually has 24 seventh and eighth grade students, was up to 32.
Although many people might believe art and science move in two totally different directions, that is far from the truth.
“Science plus divergent thinking might equal art,” Cooney said. “All art is based on science. So we are bringing that awareness into camp so that they realize they can take a scientific (concept) and make it in to art.”
In Lori Larimore’s Drawing and Painting Class, students were making “Scribble-Bots” on Monday. The little robots were made with a red Solo cup, a small motor, a small propeller, a battery and colored markers.
“It will take us about 15 minutes, and we’ll have them running,” Larimore said.
Cooney added that each class does something different and camp co-chair Libet Thompson noted that each teacher interprets the theme of “mad science” differently.
“This has been, and we knew it would be, a little more of a challenging topic,” Thompson said. “But, it’s kind of fun because different teachers have interpreted the subject matter a little differently. Some of them have gone into the architectural aspect, and some of them a physics point of view, some of them are going to work with the color spectrum. So, there’s a lot of variation rather than when you are just learning about a culture and their art. This is a lot broader, I would say.”
She agreed with Cooney that art and science do go together.
“Our director Missy (Mays), was taking it very much from a lab point of view,” Thompson added. “She has added that to the decorations too, including the ‘mad professor’ (cutout).”
“We took the title from the ‘Scientific American,’” Cooney said. “It said ‘creativity is a mad science.’ We are really thinking of the ‘mad’ as the creativity part. We’ve interpreted it many ways.”
In the Enrichment Class hosted in the Stauffacher Building on Monday, seventh and eighth grade students were making masks and hats. The class is taught by Jeremy Fry and Kristen Patrick.
“We have several projects,” Fry said. “The first project that we are doing, they are going to paper mache ‘insects or bugs’ and they are going to be like masks or helmets.”
The class will also make abstract, watercolor ‘petri dishes,’ hanging art mobiles, lighted constellations, and plaster reliefs.
“We are also in the mad science (theme) so we are creating these weird little creatures,” he added. “They are going to use polymer clay to make these.”
In Janice Hargrave’s Words and Music Class, third through fifth grade students were busy making balloons buzz and playing homemade harmonicas. Harmonicas were made with craft sticks, rubber bands and straws.
To make the buzzing balloons, Hargrave had the students place a hex nut into the balloon. After blowing it up, they could twirl the balloon and the hex nut would make a cartoon-like buzz.
“Something round won’t make that sound,” Hargrave said smiling. “Their parents are going to love this. It’s going to be a good week.”
Thompson and Cooney agreed.
“It will be a fun week, we’re excited,” Thompson added.
According to a Camp Blue Sky media release “Constellation Physics,” a hands-on workshop scheduled for this morning, will involve grades seven, eight and nine. The students will explore velocity, friction, gravitation and energy. Facilitated by Brad Shaw, a master teacher from Kansas City, students will actively participate in the challenge to engineer a structure.
The StoneLion puppet theater will perform for Camp Blue Sky at noon Thursday in the Stauffacher Theater at SFCC.
The production, “Starry Starry Night,” will feature simple astronomy and constellation stories with wacky Professor Van Gogo. The audience will explore the “sun” and discover the composition of a star. Presented to grades one through five, the puppet program offers 25 minutes of light humor and is open to the public.
Both programs are planned to expand the camp theme “Art is a Mad Science.” It will emphasize the problem-solving skills of trial, error and imagination needed to create art through science. StoneLion is a Smithsonian touring performer on the Missouri Arts Council Touring Roster. Both programs are brought to the camp through Kansas City Young Audiences.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 826-1000 ext. 1481 or @flbemiss.