At summer camp, kids typically enjoy activities such as canoeing, hiking, bonfires and craft time. In 2015, Lumsden Beach Camp (LBC) made a small change with a big impact – switching “craft time” to “art time.”
“We moved from product to process. It became less about the end result and more about interacting with different things in different ways,” says summer camp co-director Cam Fraser. “The shift in language – changing ‘crafts’ to ‘art’ – expanded the kids’ understanding of their own capacity to create. They were able to see art as something present, alive and conceptual.”
Through a Creative Partnerships grant, LBC worked with artists Terri Fidelak and Laura Hale (or Foxtail and Brambles, as they were known) to weave engagement in the arts throughout camp operations. The artists gave the children the freedom follow their own inquiry processes. The change engaged campers who previously found craft time tedious and gave those with ADHD or short attention spans the opportunity to go at their own pace.
Fidelak says, “I was surprised by some of them, especially the boys who claimed not to like art, and then who ended up making really lovely pieces during our time together. I loved the campers’ ability to take what I had presented as a base idea and make it their own creative expression.”
This was the first time LBC had significantly engaged in the arts, aside from its specific Music, Art, and Drama Camp Session,and the response was overwhelmingly positive. “Many campers had never been exposed to professional artists before, and this was named on many family surveys as a real treat,” Fraser says.
“I found most of the kids very open, trusting and quick to connect with me right away,” says Hale. “There were a lot of questions and interest in my own art practice and a lot of kids sharing about how much they liked art, or wanted to be an artist when they grew up.”
Fidelak adds that her personal art practice has benefitted directly from the residency. “I found the land deeply inspiring and began a brand new branch of creative output based entirely on the ideas of friendship and connection to place.”
For more on Lumsden Beach camp, visit lumsdenbeachcamp.com.
Creative Partnerships is a joint initiative of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and SaskCulture Inc., using funding from the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation.