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EAC Art Camp: Making art happen!

After what I have called the Lost Year of 2020, it was with great joy and relief that the Emanuel Arts Council was able to offer its popular art camp this year.

Held at the Sudie Fulford Community Learning Center of East Georgia State College from June 7-9, the camp was fully funded by scholarships from Mill Creek Foundation. Twenty slots in the camp were quickly filled on a first come, first served basis after the camp was announced earlier this spring. All participants at art camp were rising third through fifth grade students from Emanuel County.

Art instructor and facilitator for the camp was Mark Lillquist, art teacher at Emanuel County Institute. Lillquist has been facilitating EAC art camps since 2016. His assistants this year were Susanna Hall and Anita Cerpovicz, who both proved to be immensely adept and engaging while interacting with the students. Salaries for the art instructor and assistants, as well as funding for supplies and snacks, were all provided by a grant through Mill Creek Foundation.

Students at art camp were given several assignments daily, whether it was painting or drawing. Lillquist—or “Mr. L” as he was known—coached them through each project. When an assignment proved to be a bit more complicated, he was quick to reassure students that it was okay to make mistakes, and that art takes practice.

Art projects included drawing horses, birds, and a 3-D barn, painting with atmospheric perspective, spray and salt underwater scenes, making buttons and stringing beads, and constructing paper butterflies. Students also learned about linear perspective and how to draw objects from a distance.

My job as executive director affords me the luxury of walking around the room and observing each student as she or he concentrates on the work they are given. To see them absorbed in their tasks, paying attention to detail, and exercising their creativity is extremely rewarding. It makes me acutely aware of how important it is to have art available to these children, and to encourage them to develop their imagination. Ongoing research confirms a positive relationship between arts education and improved academics for all students. The arts foster imagination and facilitate success inside and outside the classroom. An education that includes the arts helps produce critical, innovative thinkers who are prepared to take their place in a rapidly-paced, constantly changing work environment. As a community, we must continue supporting events that keep the arts alive and well.

On the last day of camp, I happened to overhear a student asking Mr. L if he would be teaching all the other camps. “No,” he said. “Just this one.” She responded, “Aww. I wish you were teaching them all!” I know every teacher will appreciate the sentiment of that statement.

On behalf of the board of directors of the EAC, I would like to convey our gratitude to Mill Creek Foundation and the Sudie Fulford Community Learning Center of EGSC, especially Coordinator Harley Smith, who was present each day at camp to make sure things ran smoothly. She also took numerous photos of camp activities each day. You can view her photo gallery on the EGSC Flickr page or through the Emanuel Arts Council’s Facebook page. The EAC looks forward to scheduling more programming in the near future. In the meantime, please check out our page on Facebook for updates.