Unique youth programming offered by VCAC

By Alisha Siebers, Executive Director, Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center

Arts Exploration Lab

On Saturday, May 13, downtown Vicksburg transformed into a campus for the Cultural Art Center’s annual Arts Exploration Lab for teens.

Participants chose from a catalog of courses and enjoyed four workshops during the afternoon. Oopsy Daisy offered a terrarium workshop; Hot Flash Pottery taught an acrylic pour class; and The Wooden Stitch let muralist Ellen VanderMyde work with teens to create a mural on their building’s east wall. Teens filled all the rooms of 101 S. Main, exploring arts they wouldn’t encounter in school such as skulls and scars special effects makeup, a paint-along with “Bob Ross” session, henna tattoo designs, and needle-felt sculptures.

In the Prairie Ronde music residency location, musically-inclined teens participated in a world percussion drumming circle with Josh Dunigan from Grand Rapids and rehearsed together to learn jazz improvisation with musician and composer Josiah DeNooyer.

After the workshops, the participants and volunteers enjoyed dinner catered from Jaspare’s Pizza and an open mic night, where teens performed in front of 85 friends and family members.

The Arts Exploration Lab is a key part of the VCAC’s efforts to support local talent, both by hiring local creatives to teach the classes and by encouraging our young adults to try new art forms.

When school starts again in the fall, the VCAC will be reaching out to work with any teens who would like to plan the 2024 Arts Exploration Lab.

Art Camps for Kids Are Next

Tucked away under the forest canopy of Vicksburg’s Outdoor Education Center, the VCAC offers a special nature-themed arts camp for kids. The Arts in the Burg camps offer big-city opportunities with a small-town feeling. This year, the camps will be offered the week of June 19-23 for 6- to 8-year-olds and the week of July 10-14 for 9- to 12-year-olds.

During camp, kids have the opportunity to learn how to observe nature under the guidance of artist teachers. Their days are filled with hands-on projects like creating suncatchers with the Kalamazoo Glass Arts teachers, composing camp songs, painting murals, drawing animals, and making sun prints with natural objects they find on the trails. The camps cost $75 for the half-day camp for 6- to 8-year-olds and $150 for the full-day camp for 9- to 12-year-olds.

The VCAC believes that art is for everyone, so we offer a pay-what-you-can policy so that no child is turned away due to inability to pay. This opportunity is made possible by generous local donors who want to share this unique camp with children. If you would like to donate a camp scholarship, or are interested in registering kids for the camp, visit our website: vicksburgarts.com.

These camps run on volunteer steam, so if you know any teens who enjoy art and kids and might like to be a camp counselor, email alisha@vicksburgarts.com.

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