Kids’ camp combines heritage with art

Cayman Traditional Arts is running a one-week half-term art camp and a regular Saturday art programme for youngsters in Cayman to encourage them to get off the couch and into the art studio.

The organisation ran a half-term art camp this week from Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 3pm, and is running the camp again next week.

Weekly until December, Saturday morning and afternoon art classes are also on offer. All programmes are available for children aged five to 11 years.

Aiming to educate children in a variety of media and arts, from pointillism and impressionism to cooking and sculpture, the classes are devised to ‘keep kids’ creative sides active’, says Cayman Traditional Arts’ Chris Christian.

‘We combine both art and cooking and making things, trying to expose the kids to different media so they have more of an understanding of what’s out there,’ he said. ‘We want to expose them at a younger age rather than letting them just go to high school and learn about it. We give them professional materials to work with, not water-based paint that will wash right out.’

The classes are taught by Mr. Christian and 30-year teaching veteran Carley Jackson at a National Trust-protected Caymanian cottage in West Bay. Guest artists are invited for different sessions on the medium that the guest may specialise in.

‘For example, for pointillism, we haven’t contacted Gordon Solomon about it [yet] but we have his paintings and have talked about different artists’ works’ so that the children are able to see the various styles on canvas, Mr. Christian explained.

After the art camp is finished, an art show featuring the students’ works (they should complete between three and four acrylic paintings) will be featured at Ritz-Carlton next year, where Cayman Traditional Arts runs frequent exhibits in the hotel’s gallery.

‘We’ve done a kids’ art show there every year since 2007,’ Mr. Christian said. ‘And before that, since 2005, we did others around the island, such as one at Breezes by the Bay.’

The show is estimated to last for one to two months, and although children often get offers for their work, Mr. Christian encourages them to hang onto their art.

‘One person offered $3,000 for one kid’s painting,’ he said. ‘To sell or not to sell is up to the parents. But I usually encourage them not to, because we want them to learn the love of art more than the business of it at this age.’

Cayman Traditional Arts is funded purely through its camps, programmes, other revenue-raising activity and the occasional private sponsor, and yet is committed to keeping its price points low.

‘We sometimes wish we could offer these camps at lower prices,’ Mr. Christian said. ‘We try to keep the price in line with other non-profit organisations, who receive government funding. We don’t run our programmes to make a profit.’

Saturday morning’s sessions run from 10am till 12pm and the afternoon sessions begin at 1pm and go to 3pm. Art supplies and snacks are provided and a pick-up/drop-off arrangement to and from Kirk Supermarket can be arranged. Children are encouraged to come wearing clothes that they can paint in.

To register or enrol in the Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon courses, or in next week’s half-term camp, contact Cayman Traditional Arts at 926-0119 or at [email protected].