A different kind of summer camp
Camp "ART" – selle teaches art, dance, drama and music in a fun environment
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
A Hartselle summer camp has received rave reviews from its first audience.
Hartselle Fine Arts Center hosted Camp "ART"-selle last week for children entering first through fifth grades. The camp allowed children to explore the four disciplines of art, dance, drama and music with a cast of local adult and youth volunteers at the historic F.E. Burleson Elementary–home of the Hartselle Fine Arts Center.
Amy Golden and Lisa King were co-directors for the inaugural event with 76 campers.
"We wanted to offer children in the community the opportunity to participate in the arts at home with an extraordinary experience for the price," Golden explained. "This is not daycare, it's a discovery camp."
"The kids are being exposed to each of the four disciplines of art, dance, drama and music," King said. "While each child may not connect with each discipline, our hope is that they can leave here and say, for example, 'Mom, I really like art. Can we look into taking an art class?' If that happens, people can come here in their own community to find those classes and we can offer them if there is a need."
Early registration for the camp was $75 per camper and regular registration was $85 per camper with a $10 discount for each additional child per household. The camp was held June 26-29, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., with a grand finale performance the night of June 29 for campers' families.
The closing event featured an art exhibit of campers' works and a performance of song, dance, and camper-created dramatic scenes inspired by the Disney Channel original movie "High School Musical!"
Performers were "The Rising Stars" (first grade), "The Show Stoppers" (second grade), "The Hit Makers" (third and fourth grades), and "The Scene Stealers" (fourth and fifth grades).
"The camp has been so successful that we've already gotten inspiration for next year to maybe expand to three separate camps for elementary, junior high and high school," Golden said. "We have written a grant and invited the Alabama State Council on Arts to this year's camp. We're very hopeful they'll continue to help us in various ways to further establish the Hartselle Fine Arts Center."
A bit of history rang through the halls of the historic school building each day as classes finished exploring art with Hartselle artist Gayle Strider, dance with Laura Russell and Jennifer Sittason, music with Sandy Hughes and Debra Queen, and drama with Christie Kieschnick.
Faye Walker, Hartselle Fine Arts committee member and volunteer, would ring Professor F.E. "Fessor" Burleson's school bell to let campers know when to switch classes.
"It's wonderful to have this building alive with children again," Walker said. "There are holes in the walls, but the building is useable and the children have just been wonderful. It's gone amazingly well for the first year."
Cassie Beth Powell, a second grader with "The Show Stoppers" group, also believed the camp to be a huge success and plans to come back next summer.
"This is a very good place for an arts camp," Powell said as she made a watercolor portrait in art class. "My dad is a good artist and he went to school in this building. I've never been inside until now, but I've seen it when we drive by. I like the camp. The teachers are all very good here."
Sponsors for Camp "ART"-selle included Pepsi, Rotary Club of Hartselle, Re/Max Plus of Hartselle, Dr. David B. Sittason and Wachovia Bank.
To learn more about the Hartselle Fine Arts Center Camp "ART"-selle or upcoming events, call Golden at 654-8527 or King at 612-7608.