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Arts Exploration Lab coming to Vicksburg

art camp 1Two years ago, Vicksburg High students Laynie Leach and Vic Simmons participated in a strategic planning committee for the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center (VCAC). They told committee members that teens wanted more opportunities to learn, create and experience art in the Vicksburg area.

Participants of the Arts in the Burg Summer Day Camp that had “aged out” of a program for 8-12-year-old students also wanted an arts camp for teens. “They asked. We listened,” said Syd Bastos, board president and acting executive director of the Arts Center. The result is approaching quickly.

“We are starting with the creation of the Arts Exploration Lab for Teens,” Bastos said. “The one-day Arts Exploration Lab will be an opportunity for teens to get a taste of different types of art. We will use feedback from the Arts Exploration Lab to create year-long programming. It will cater to the needs and wants of teens in our community through afterschool classes, a summer-long arts camp for teens and intensive multi-week workshops.”

A handful of student volunteers who are passionately invested in the arts have begun planning the Arts Exploration Lab through a series of brainstorming sessions held at the Vicksburg Community Center. These students have been actively involved in the design of the Arts Exploration Lab, including prioritizing what art subjects to include, recommending instructors and determining the best way to collect feedback from participants. They are also identifying potential problems for the day-long lab along with solutions to ensure that participants and instructors have a great experience.

“Not only will students’ voices be represented by these student volunteers in creating this lab, they are developing and practicing their leadership and problem-solving skills,” explained Jake Munson, chair of the program committee and a VCAC board member. Jake is also actively involved at Vicksburg High School as a seminar teacher and super volunteer for the Vicksburg Band program.

The Arts Exploration Lab is Thursday, March 28 at the Community Center from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The event is free and students 13-19 from area schools and home-schooled are welcome to attend. “We ask that students come prepared to have lots of fun, try new things, be open-minded, and let their creativity loose,” said Munson.

For questions, contact Syd Bastos at, or call 269-501-1347.

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