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Ohlone Art Camp

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Celebrates 21 Anniversary

Ohlone Art Camp started at Ohlone Elementary School in 1997 but moved to my backyard studio during remodeling at the school a couple of years later. I kept the name "Ohlone Art Camp" because I am sure that Ohlones once lived in my neighborhood; I have found arrowheads, bones, and seashells in my yard!

I believe in running a low-key, calm, and fun camp. Children are under so much pressure nowadays and I am happy to offer a fun, outdoor space where they can set their own pace and create some amazing art projects. So much of our lives is filled with "hurry up, we're going to be late!" so in my camp I believe in slowing down and taking time to think about what you would like to do and then creating - slowly and thoughtfully. I have no such thing as "late" to camp (with the exception of pickup times!!) so that the pressure is off of everyone.

I am the teacher and my assistants are former campers who move up over time. They can earn their community service hours here once they get to high school. Many count the years until the summer before high school so they can move up to helper position! My average camp size is 15 although I've never turned a child away. I welcome all children, no matter what ethnicity or physical ability. Over the years, I have had some children with disabilities but am always willing to work with them to be successful and happy. Each child is equal in my eyes. Both girls and boys are welcome as this is not a gender or age specific camp. I find that the best weeks are those with both girls and boys and mixed ages. As I am not a "daycare" or babysitter, I find that all children who come to this camp are art focused. I have had some children come who are a bit challenged with behavior but we have, for the most part, been able to overcome any issues.

I believe that there are no mistakes in art. I tell children that no matter what comes from the brain, it is something that they have created and whether they like it or not, I guarantee that parents and even the person sitting next to them will! I no longer use the phrase "Good job!" as I find children are more interested in hearing my questions about their use of color or what a specific design element means…it prompts some amazing conversations! Children find great joy and often become highly animated in relating their artistic endeavor and in describing their masterpieces! It gives them a great sense of accomplishment and pride.

I have three dogs who adore the children: Ruby, my tiny Chiweenie, is three; Kira, a two-year-old female Siberian husky has the most amazing blue eyes; and Jameson AKA Jamey, is a three year old, handsome Plott hound. Our beautiful corn snake named Willy is still with us! A couple of years ago, after almost 15 years of no visible sign of gender, our snake became Wilhelmina, after laying a bunch of eggs (not fertilized, of course)! I am looking forward to the possibility of welcoming some new Chinese Silkie chickens this spring. The vegetable garden is always in state of planting and young hands are welcome to help!

If your child wants to do some reading, they are welcome to find a spot and do so. We will discuss one new word per day and find interesting subjects of conversation which in the past have ranged from King Tutankhamun to travels in Shanghai! We can bring out the encyclopedia (yes, I still have a set!) and cruise the world! I subscribe to my favorite two magazines: Archaeology and Inspirations (the most gorgeous embroidery magazine from Australia!). Remember that art is so limited if not completely cut out of school curriculums and it is a critical form of human expression which fills a need in children for a multitude of reasons! I offer out-of-the-ordinary art forms, starting each child with the silk painting and then moving to embroidery or to a variety of other crafts such as mosaics and mask making. Many stay with the silk or embroidery, coming back multiple weeks and even year after year, to work on long term projects. I am looking forward to another wonderful summer!


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