EDUCATION // WE TRIED THAT

About We Tried That!
Welcome to “We Tried That!” our new virtual space for remembering, sharing, and celebrating all of the amazing creative fun happening for children and families at the SCA.

We believe in providing effective, hands-on arts programming that fosters development through project-based learning, improves soft skills needed for eventual employment, and paves the way for excitement about learning. Our camps and classes almost always include a working professional, so students gain the experience of working alongside adults in creative fields. When we’re not in the studio, we aim to provide accessible, mobile creative touchpoints that achieve those same goals. Summer is a specifically exciting time for us as we move full-swing into our summer camps with a few outreach opportunities along the way.

SUMMER SNAPSHOT: JUNE

Here is a snapshot of what magic has happened so far this summer season:

We kicked off our summer season with Jump Into Summer: a family-friendly evening on the last day of school full of food trucks, excellent music from The Accidentals, and hands-on kids activities. Here a few hundred children were able to explore character-based art projects inspired by our current exhibition, Storied Drawing. They sculpted, painted, colored, and even contributed to a large-scale collaborative multimedia piece that is now in the exhibition. Come to our gallery to check out the imaginative characters and critters they drew!

Surprise and delight! You may have seen us out in the community at the Holland Farmers Market where we served over 300 children over the course of the morning creating stamped textiles using everyday objects such as spools of thread, spatulas, dinosaur toys, legos, and more. This playful, messy fun followed a brief story time provided by Herrick District Library after children read about shapes and colors. One child remarked, “I didn’t know that my toys could do this!”

For our first summer camp, students worked alongside Jeff Blandford in our Backyard Clay Play camp in which they visited Oval Beach for an outdoor workshop in which the learned about the nature and history of natural clay. The kids created spontaneous art installations using found natural materials before creating one-time use natural clay planters with spinach seeds that can be placed in the ground to dissolve and grow the plant. In recalling the class, Jeff said:

Our exploration of the beach and it’s natural materials was a perfect way to get outdoors and enjoy nature and art together. The simple shapes were filled with soil and a couple seeds so that our efforts creating together can continue on their own, and hopefully in the end offer some fruits of our labor and creativity.

The well-loved ongoing Toddler Tuesday series returned to the studio this June with two playfully themed sessions: “Creature Feature,” in which our youngest friends explored imaginary and real critters in a variety of mediums, and “A Far Off Journey,” in which they created art projects inspired by handicrafts from around the world including Aboriginal dot painting, printed Adinkra Ghanian textiles, Japanese Zen Gardens, and Turkish Ebru marbling. These specific sessions have projects that encourage important early childhood development in areas such as of fine/gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, visual analysis, and more. It’s always a gift to see a few children arrive uncertain of the experience, only to blossom into bravery and dive into the messy fun.

We rounded out our first week in the studio with Vrooming Vehicles, our first S.T.E.A.M. camp of the summer. Industrial toy designers Jon and Sarah Vanderbeek helped the kids create their own toy vehicles. Students not only made creative choices about the look and theme of their cars, but also the function and speed. The camp ended with a car exposition and race under the pavillion, where Farmers Market onlookers noticed tiny cars zipping by in the form of a monster, a watermelon, a spaceship, and more.

Kids in the Heights kicked off our second week of camps. Kids explored Latin-American culture in a variety of ways, from creating their own maracas and papels to cooking Latin fare with chef Midy Trafman at Coast 236. One of the most exciting parts of this camp was the backstage tour the kids had of our In The Heights set, learning about all the aspects of creating a production of this scale. Campers also had the very special opportunity of learning dance moves to “96,000” with choreographer Jay Gamboa and members of the cast.

The In The Heights excitement continued as we hosted 50 students from Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities, CultureWorks, and Holland High School for the show on June 26. These visitors had the opportunity to visit the dance loft, watch the lift/fight scene warm ups, and ask a few cast members questions before seeing the show. This was a meaningful experience for the students and the cast, as many students witnessed cast members with a shared cultural background leading confidently in this amazing production.

We rounded out June with Larger Than Life Animals, where children worked with visiting artist Janie Stamm to create paper-maché creatures from the unexplored deep sea. They learned about aquatic animals before creating their own hybrids by drawing inspiration from three underwater friends. The children lit up when their ideation sketches began to grow bones and flesh via the unlikely materials of cardboard and paper.
The SCA was excited to provide Janie with her first teaching experience out of grad school. She was happy to report that it was a positive experience. “I wasn’t sure how this would go,” she said, “but watching their imagination unfold within the basic form of my usual medium was so meaningful to watch.”

UNTIL NEXT TIME

Thanks for celebrating with us, be sure to check back in a few weeks to hear about what we did for the first half of July. We continue S.T.E.A.M.-ing with Pendulum Painting and Crystallizing Cool, while also creating Colorful Cookies, learning All About the Bees, and Attacking Art from all angles. If you’re interested in joining our creative fun, check out our Summer Camps online. Tune in next time, and we’ll see you in the Studio!

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