Local Camp Adds Color To Community

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Since 2005, Circle Round the Square has allowed Nelsonville-York students the ability to explore their artistic abilities in a free, five-week program.

For nearly eight hours a day, 61 kids rotate around the various art project stations that Executive Director Barbara Campagnola has organized to fulfill the needs of the community. Circle Round the Square offers 140 hours of art education, 70 of which are measured to state visual art standards.

In the Hocking College Gallery, campers take part in what appears to be a favorite activity amongst them, ceramics. Campers crafted animal-human hybrids, placing their heads on the body of their favorite animal. The project aims to help kids understand themselves better by realizing the traits they share with their chosen animal.

The students’ choices of animals ranged from kangaroos, for their basketball dunking abilities, to rabbits because they enjoy vegetables.

Emily Watkins and Kodie Hoyd chose to make a hybrid of a fox. For Watkins it was because, “I’m sneaky and quiet.”

“She copied me,” Hoyd said with a smile.

Over at Paper Circle, participants worked on a weeklong multimedia project to personalize photos that represent their life. Jacob Koestler and Anna Tararova work with the children to take pictures, gather plant material, make paper and practice screen-printing.

At the end of the week, the children have five prints of their picture, all on handmade paper. Each part of the project is meant to build a closer bond between campers and Nelsonville, Koestler explained. Even the cattails students used to create the paper were taken from nearby Robbins Crossing.

Other programs include theater activities in Stuart’s Opera House led by Ohio University professor Tyler Whidden, designing skateboards in Rutter Rentals, and creating mandalas in the First Presbyterian Church.

The original mandalas were Buddhist spiritual symbols, which feature a circle within a square, and allow flexibility for many different art forms. On Tuesday, students were working with pastels, having already used watercolors and tissue paper.

Terry Fortkamp leads this class and told students to find colors that immediately spoke to them because it would make their finished piece more original to them.

“That’s the goal of this, to make the beautiful you,” Fortkamp said to the class.

Helping run the camp are various youth leaders, many of whom are previous participants of the camp. Youth leaders must go through a leadership program, which entitles them to a two-year scholarship through Hocking College.

Breeana Lanning has been a youth leader for two years after partaking in the program as a kid.

“I like seeing the kids create something they didn’t think they could, and their excitement when it’s finished,” Lanning said.

Hocking College helps make a lot of the programs possible. These services include lunch, busing to the campus for afternoon activities, swimming, culinary classes and advanced digital photography.

Campagnola feels Hocking College is an important asset to the camp saying they would not have grown without the college.

The conclusion of the camp will showcase the campers’ work. On July 23 the student-written production will be performed at 6:30 p.m. and on July 25, their art will be displayed from 5-9 pm. Both events are set to take place in Stuart’s Opera House.