UMM Art Camps Focus on the Environment

Art Camp photoMACHIAS, ME – It may seem impossible to turn an empty soda bottle into a piece of art, but children in the Make – Create – Imagine Art Camps at the University of Maine at Machias did just that.

The UMM art camps offer a variety of rich exploratory learning opportunities in the arts that stimulate a child’s natural abilities and creativity. Nearly 30 kids attended this summer’s camp sessions, which were held July 6 through 17.

With the campus as their canvas, students were encouraged to explore beyond the classroom to discover beauty in the natural environment. The camp emphasizes creativity with a focus on the environment, recycling everyday materials allowing the children to explore many different art mediums. Students were encouraged to use their imaginations to creative problem solve and discover confidence in their abilities as image makers and visual communicators.

Paper pulp from brown paper bags, bottles and cans, cardboard boxes, and old onion bags were just some of the materials the students recycled and used in their artwork during the week. Along the way, the students even discussed how their actions were benefiting the environment.

“I wanted to incorporate environmentally sound and sustainable practices in my program,” said camp instructor Michelle Amato. “Having the kids use recycled materials in their projects was a great way to begin those discussions.”

Amato, who is a current student in UMM’s secondary education program, instructed the older group while the younger kids were taught by Dana Lang. Lang is a Montessori preschool teacher and a UMM alum who received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary fine arts.

The art camps’ focus on the environment even carried over to snack and lunch breaks. Throughout the week the kids saved all of their biodegradable waste and took a trip to the compost bins on the final day to properly dispose of it.

When asked how rewarding the experience was, Amato said, “One of the students told me ‘I’ll see you next year!’ That was a great endorsement.”

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