Artistic Journeys

The Michener Museum in Doylestown, Pa., offers summer art camps.

By: Jodi Thompson
Fearing a long, hot summer with the children keeping cool in the basement perfecting their video game skills? The Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., has an alternative: Art Camp.
With nearly as many varieties of camp experiences as there are varieties of children, Michener offers students a chance to expand their horizons close to home. There are multi-generational programs, series for the younger set and even classes for more mature students. Future jazz musicians, environmental scientists and landscape artists can find a curriculum designed specifically for them.
Paulette Lidert, director of educational outreach programs at Michener, helped to organize seven programs, which run throughout the summer.
"Great Art Travels," held at Pine Run
Elementary School in New Britain, Pa., for ages 6-12, is an attractive camp for working families.
"Every year, we take an artistic journey through different regions of the world to look at their art and culture," Ms. Lidert says, "and then create our own pieces based on what we learn."
This year, students will examine Latin American art, folklore and music. The program will help children use language arts, music and problem-solving skills, in addition to the visual arts, to learn about the region’s culture during the two-week day camp. Visiting artists will contribute to the experience.
Jermaine Mancke, a contemporary dancer, will create movement based on a Diego Rivera painting, and Christine Tokugawa will provide a clay workshop in keeping with the regions renowned for ceramic animal vessels.
"It’s amazing what these kids can do in two weeks," says Ms. Lidert. She says the price ($330 for non-members) is as attractive to working families as the 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. schedule.
"They’re able to have their kids taken care of in a wonderful environment while they’re working. It’s one of my pride and joys, I must admit, that program, because it has three elements, three disciplines."
A scaled back version, encompassing only the visual arts of Latin America, is available at the museum for ages 8-13 in the morning and ages 6-8 in the afternoon.
Another program, "River, Rills and Sunlight," was first held at Phillips’ Mill in Solebury, Pa., last year. Intended for serious art students, it is now a permanent offering. Students ages 13-18 will study composition, color mixing, texture and perspective with artist Pat Martin, who now works from the former home of William Langson Lathrop, a prominent Pennsylvania Impressionist. Students will focus on drawing directly from nature. Although Ms. Lidert is thrilled with the success of "Rivers, Rills and Sunlight," she is equally excited about the camp’s latest program, "All that Jazz."
Students ages 9-13 will bring their own instruments and will be divided according to ability to explore rhythm, melody, harmony and different jazz styles with Charles Fambrough, a Doylestown bassist and jazz composer. The all-day program runs June 24-July 5 ($295 for non-members).
Sometimes simply tweaking an existing program broadens interest, as is the case with "The Nature of Art at Tinicum Barn." This year, Ms. Lidert says camp organizers have added an environmental component. This combines hands-on science and the visual arts for a full-day, two-week course for ages 7-12 (June 24-July 5, $295 for non-members).
Parents and children will also have the opportunity to work side-by-side on two and three-dimensional art and then cool off in the Tohickon Valley Park pool, part of the "ArtSplash" program, which costs $115 for non-members.
For kids without transportation issues, there are wonderful half-day sessions held at the Doylestown museum. Little ones and their parents can join the fun on Saturdays throughout the summer months. The museum is offering a new scholarship program, made possible by a donation from a generous benefactor, which will provide tuition to eight students with an interest in art, based on a financial need or merit.
Applications for the grants must be accompanied by a recommendation from either the child’s school or youth organization. Contact Ms. Lidert for scholarship applications.
"These are just fabulous programs," Ms. Lidert says. "The museum has always been committed to the arts and community. This is one of our ways of reaching to the children, developing their skills and creativity.
"Art is always cut back in the schools. This is a way of engaging the students’ creativity."
The Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown, Pa., will offer Art Camp programs June 24-Aug. 16. Tuition runs $95-$330 for morning, afternoon or all-day programs. For schedule and information, call (215) 340-9800. On the Web: