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Art by Design camp provides life lessons for students and teachers

By Larshell Green
On July 17, 2017

A summer art workshop dedicated to educating children in a fun environment also gives university students the opportunity to gain credits and knowledge.

The university’s Departments of Visual Arts and Non-Credit Programs recently decided to sponsor The Children’s Art Education Workshop: Art by Design for youths ranging from 5-13. 

Dr. Kim Finley, associate professor of art education in the visual arts and fine and performing arts department began instructing the camp alongside her students on July 10 and will stop on July 20 in Clark Hall.

Finley has been in charge of the camp for almost 28 years but believes that the camp has probably existed since the 1970s.

Although one of the main goals for Art by Design is to provide a fun environment for the children involved, it creates a learning environment for both students and teachers. 

“It is the direct experience for the course Art 371,” said Finley. “Art for the Elementary Teacher is a required course for all Early Childhood and K- 5 Education majors.”

Senior early childhood education major April Mullins states that she hopes Art by Design helps her train for a career in educating children from pre-K to third grade while giving back to southeast Louisiana’s community. 

“I will enjoy educating and helping the students during the art camp by facilitating different art experiences each day,” said Mullins. “I cannot wait to facilitate their learning, engage the students’ creativity and experience their own designs all while learning about different art cultures.”

Mullins believes that learning about art can be done using many methods.

“Art does not necessarily have to be students using 12 different types of glitter and glue or a creating a realistic oil painting inspired by Vincent van Gogh,” said Mullins. “Art integration can be as easy as using art materials, songs, plays and even poems in the classroom to help students learn in their own creative way by making learning relevant in their lives.”

Finley believes that a knowledge and appreciation for art can have a positive impact on children and adults futures. 

“Art is and should be an important part of all of our lives,” said Finley. 

Finley explained that although Art 371 is an introductory course for non-visual art majors, her expectations for what her students can learn by being instructors spans beyond traditional art education. 

“I would like to think that this course builds the foundations for thinking about art versus craft in a new way as it would play out in the elementary school classroom,” said Finley. “It guides my students towards the use of their own imagination, creativity and productivity in the arts with an eye towards their own future elementary classrooms.”

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