A camp for the imagination

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GREENFIELD — The art studio on the lower level of the Patricia Elmore Center gave the feel of a party about to happen. Dozens of paint brushes, sorted by size, in a rack just inside the door; gallons of paint, arranged by color, on a shelf; cupboards doors that opened to reveal every craft supply you could imagine: yarn, glue, crayons, beads, buttons, scissors, construction paper, and of course, googly eyes.

In truth, it is a party about to happen — a party called Art Camp.

When Rachel Holmes officially closed down her beloved Indie Art Studio in August of last year, it felt like the end of the world. The studio had been shut down since March due to COVID-19, and with no income coming in, it was impossible to keep the doors open.

“I hated closing,” Holmes said. “It was my baby.”

Business had been good: birthday parties every single weekend and classes filling up.

“I had all these plans for future classes which made it so hard,” Holmes said.

Well, the world turns. And when one door closes, eventually another one opens.

Holmes, now a part of Greenfield’s Parks & Recreation staff, will lead four weeks of Art Camp beginning June 14. The camps are divided into morning and afternoon sessions: mornings from 9 to 11 a.m. for 6- to 8 year-olds; afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. for 9- to 12-year-olds.

Each weekly four-day session will feature a different theme.

Campers at Nature & Art (June 14-17) will spend time outdoors creating art pieces while learning about the elements of art: line, shape, texture, form, space, color and value.

Games & Toys (June 21 -24) will focus on popular toys and activities and the artistic elements within them, including Minecraft, LOL Dolls, plushies and slime. Campers will use their favorite toys as inspiration to design their own toys and board games.

During Castles, Kings & Queens (July 12-15), campers will take plain, wooden castle doll houses and decorate them to create miniature worlds with characters who live in them.

Living the Dream, which will focus on living the life of an artist (July 19-21). Campers will learn about contemporary artists who are living their own dreams every day by creating unique and meaningful art.

Currently, Holmes is up to her eyeballs in plans. As with the art equipment throughout the room, everything is organized by session, age group, and theme down to the minute. For example:

Tuesday, June 15, 9:35 a.m. — bird houses — explain, show examples of thatched roofing; 9:40 a.m. — bird houses — outside, collect grass for thatching.

Wednesday, June 16, 9:50 a.m. — sun prints — outside, collect nature items, go in the SHADE to arrange items on board, then set out in sun.

Monday, June 21, 9:25 a.m. — Lego printing; 10:35 a.m. — custom tic-tac-toe, design boards.

It’s clear that Holmes is in her element. She appreciates the freedom to develop her own ideas and curriculum, she said. And no sooner will Art Camp 2021 be in the books, then Holmes will be planning for weekly art classes for kids and adults, open studio time, fall break art camps. Holmes hopes to be able to add activities for teens and tweens as well.

Camp for 6- to 8-year-olds are $90 per session and $110 for the 9- to 12-year-olds. Visit parks.greenfieldin.org or call 317-477-4340 to register or for more information.