Round Robin Summer Arts Camp
This summer, local non-profit Waterloo Arts will be bringing back last year’s Round Robin summer arts camp. Waterloo Arts’ Board President Danielle Uva enrolled her two boys, 10 and 7 at the time, in the camp last summer. Her children went to several camps that summer, but Round Robin was “by far their favorite camp.” They found the time spent with professional artists in their own spaces, the galleries and studios around Waterloo where the camp is held, to be intimate and therefore more engaging. The setup of the camp is such that students learn from professional artists about a new medium each day, such as ceramics or printing, and make a small project in the day’s medium
Waterloo Arts itself is a community space, and the organization encourages a culture where the students to feel ownership over the space and freedom to experiment. The instruction and setting made the students feel like they were part of something bigger than themselves, and a year later, Uva’s children still talk about what they did at Waterloo. For instance, the students screen printed t-shirts last year, and the boys take great pride in wearing something that they conceived and made. Not only do they still wear the shirts though, they even reflect on what they would change about their design. They felt empowered to make something completely their own, and they self-reflect on the process.
There was one day of the camp last year when the students focused on fiber art and were taught at Praxis how to dye fabric and how to felt. Praxis is a nonprofit organization that functions as a cooperative textile studio, offering classes, studio space, and communal space for all fiber arts processes such as weaving, fabric design, and spinning yarn. Jessica Pinsky, the Executive Director, expects students this year to focus on felting. Pinsky’s goal for the students is explicitly to get them thinking about where the fabric comes from and how it is made—how their blanket started out as fiber which was turned into cloth and then eventually a blanket their parents bought at a store. Pinsky hopes that students feel empowered by being able to create something. The process of having an idea and following it through the process of execution to create a tangible item gives people of any age the feeling of ownership. Also, even though the kids focus on fiber and fabric for only a brief amount of time, the kids are exposed to new ways of thinking about the fabric in their lives, from their clothes to their bedding, and to new mediums and methods of art creation.
This year, the two-week long camp will run twice, July 9-20 and July 23-August 3, on weekdays from 9 to noon. It is open to children ages 6-13. This year’s iteration of the camp will be similar to last year’s: students will be taught daily by professional artists who specialize in fiber arts, ceramics, printing, street art, and more. Each day of the camp focuses in on one of these specialties, and the students get to know and use the different maker-spaces and galleries on Waterloo. For more information and to register for the camp, visit waterlooarts.org.