Welcome to our first blog in the series of our Camp Focuses! Every year we have countless emails and phone calls and in-person questions from parents wanting to understand our summer camps and how they work a little bit better.
Don’t get us wrong, we love the questions (keep ‘em coming), and we love that you care to know more about what your child will be doing when you sign them up to hang with us over the summer; we just want to make that information more easily accessible to you.
We often discuss these types of questions and information on our social media (such as our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), but we thought it might be nice to round up all our wisdom nuggets and put them all together in helpful (and easily shareable) blog posts.
Camp Focus: Mixed Media
It’s appropriate that we begin this series with our most inquired-about camp, Mixed Media. In fact, “What is Mixed Media?” even made our Frequently Asked Summer Camp Questions list because we hear it so often (so if you were looking at this blog post thinking, “but just what IS mixed media?” – take comfort; you’re in good company).
Let’s break it down:
What is “Media” in art?
Media is a word we hear almost every day in our adult lives and usually we associate it with the mass communication and all the ways that communication reaches us (TV, radio, publishing, the internet, social platforms etc.).
However, when we’re discussing art, we obviously do not mean mass communication sources.
Media is the plural form of medium, which, in art, has two different, although overlapping, meanings:
So while sculpture and painting are considered to be different art mediums or media, if we were to create a sculpture out of wire, we could say the sculpture was done in the medium of wire, or if we were to create a painting, it could be done in the medium of watercolor or, perhaps, oil.
Mixed Media, then, can refer to both the mixing of the types of art (sculpture and painting together, for example) or the mixing of the materials to create a work of art, such as a drawing that features charcoal, chalk pastel, and gouache paint.
The Benefits of Working in Mixed Media:
Mixed Media is a great opportunity to experience multiple art materials and processes all at once, and in our Mixed Media summer camps, we encourage students to try out as many mediums as possible in fun and creative ways.
The challenge of using multiple mediums utilizes campers’ creative problem-solving skills and exposes them to many art materials, often ones not traditionally found in the classroom.
While campers break the boundaries of traditional art applications, they also have to pay special attention to the function of each material to ensure that it will work with the introduction of other mediums.
What Does Mixed Media Look Like?
Mixed Media is, admittedly, a vague term, but it has to be to cover SO MANY possible outcomes. The possible projects are incredibly varied, as you can see from the different versions of "still life" projects above. Mixed Media sounds great, but what exactly does it mean in a summer camp art project sense?
In the past, students have combined watercolor and gouache paints on multiple surfaces, made sculptures out of everything from air-dry clay to cut paper, created collages out of found items, and experimented with fibers and fabric dying.
One of our favorite past projects was our marbled paper portraits. Students used shaving cream and food dye to marble Bristol paper. Next, using acrylic paint, students drew and painted their faces onto the paper. The result was a fun portrait with a colorful marbled background.
While our projects for camps change so often we couldn’t tell you EXACTLY what your child will be doing in our camps this year, we can show you other examples of Mixed Media Camp projects that have been done in the past that may give you a better of idea of what type of work they might be doing in our Mixed Media project art gallery here.
Do you still have questions over our Mixed Media Camps, or anything else we talked about in this blog? We want your questions! Leave us a comment or email us at MuseoArtAcademy@live.com.
And don't forget to check out all of our Summer Camp options and save your child's spot before they fill up!
STEM, STEAM, STEM, STEAM, what does it all mean? (and yes, we were just as tickled about the rhyming as we're hoping you just were).
STEM, the collective term for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, became a focus in education in the early 2000s in reaction to statistics showing the United States falling behind other countries in those subjects in our education system and work force.
While there is no doubt that these four subjects are incredibly important to the progression of the country as a global leader, it turns out that art not only complements these subjects, but increases chances of success in STEM subjects as well.
Proponents for STEAM (with the added "A" for art), instead of simply STEM, demonstrate that the study and practice of art increases what educators call the Four Cs: creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, all vital skills necessary for success in STEM fields.
In fact, Adam Grant found in his research for his book "Originals: How Non Conformists Move the World" that Nobel Prize-winning scientists were seven times more likely to have a hobby of visual art than their non-Nobel-Prize-winning peers, and 22 times more likely to be involved in a performing art than their non-winning peers.
And according to the Arts in Education Partnership’s 2013 report, Preparing Students for the Next America, The Benefits of an Arts Education, “Creativity is among the top ranking of 'in demand' qualities. 65% of Americans believe that creativity is central to the U.S.'s role as a global leader. 97% of business leaders agreed that creativity is of increasing importance in the workplace. However, 85% of employers seeking creative candidates had trouble finding qualified applicants.” Creativity is an essential precursor to innovation, which is the key to moving STEM fields forward.
There are plenty of ways you can challenge your children at home with fun and simple STEAM activities to keep their brains fresh during the summer, or just over the weekend, and they probably won't even know they're learning through the fun! We've rounded up a few of our favorites, let us know which ones you try and how you liked them!
1. Pendulum Painting
A pendulum is a weighted object that hangs from a pivot, or a bar, and swings based on it's gravitational pull. You and your child can experiment with the way pendulums move while creating pendulum paintings either inside or outside on the sidewalk. You can test different heights of the bar, different lengths of the string, or different amounts of paint in the cup and see what kind of designs these pendulums come up with. Full directions and even sidewalk paint recipe can be found here.
2. Shadow Art Science
Shadow art is a perfect summer activity for the kids - gets them creative and gets them outside. Check, check. Up the science factor by first discussing how the sun's position in the sky affects how our shadows look on the ground. This blog post here runs through the steps for the art project, but also suggests their other post, "Human Sundial Shadow Science Experiment" as the precursor science intro.
3. No-Cook PlayDough Sculpture Lab
Let the kids experiment with creating their own art materials! No-cook playdough is easy to make with simple ingredients you probably have in the house already (but things could get a little messy so prepare the space accordingly. Maybe this calls for an outdoor lab on a nice day). Set up a playdough science "lab" for the kids to conduct their experiments with mixing different materials to form the perfect no-cook sculpting clay, suggestions and recipes can be found here. Then encourage your kids to use their newly concocted substance to create fun sculptures.
4. Sharpie Tie-Dye Experiment
We've done a Sharpie and fabric tie-dying experiment in our summer camps before, but here's a great how-to to recreate this art experiment at home. After coloring a design in the fabric (or t-shirts for this particular project) with the sharpies, use rubbing alcohol to make the sharpies bleed and "dye" the fabric. This is a great way to explore primary and secondary color mixing as well.
These are just a few great ways to integrate STEM and art to create STEAM-focused activities that work both sides of the brain at the same time. If you're still looking for more ways to sneak art into your child's daily activities, check out our variety of summer art camp options with new projects every week for ages 5-14.
Other Sources not already linked in article:
Developing a healthy and positive self-esteem is a vital key to happiness and success in life, which is why, as parents, we’re always doing what we can to encourage our child’s sense of confidence.
We read books about it, we read blogs, we listen to podcasts, we become their biggest fan and largest cheering section (“You brushed your teeth! Excellent job!”); we hang their kindergarten crafts on the wall, we brag about their many talents in front of them, we constantly celebrate their wins, and we sign them up for activities that will give them sense of pride and help them feel good about themselves.
Studies show that participation in the arts increases self-esteem and self-efficacy. Long-term participation can certainly have greater and more pronounced benefits, but even a week at a summer art camp can make a huge impact.
Take a look at how summer art camps can do what you as a parent are always trying to do: boost self-esteem in your child.
1. Art camps encourage self-expression.
Art, unlike craft, is the about the expression of ideas and feelings. When children are encouraged to express and create based on their own thoughts and emotions, they learn that what they think and feel is important and valued.
3. Art camps introduce new experiences.
Trying new things can be scary for children (and adults, who are we trying to kid?), but it can also increase confidence in their own abilities the more they do it.
Art camps provide a supportive environment to take risks, and they encourage campers to do new things every day, from working with new materials, to mastering new skills, to attempting new projects. When campers experience the successes they have trying new things at camp, they feel more excited and confident to try new things elsewhere as well.
4. Art camps require effort.
Don’t get us wrong, requiring effort does not mean art camp isn’t a ton of fun! Creating anything requires effort, so we select projects that are cool and exciting so they don’t even realize the high level of effort they’re putting into them.
No one else does the projects for them so the pay-off with their accomplishment means a lot to them.
When campers are able to pour themselves into a project, challenging themselves to make their own creative choices, practice technical skills, apply new-found knowledge, and problem solve in a creative way, they learn to trust themselves and their abilities.
They learn that through effort they can plan and create entire works of art that they are proud to show off. A sense of accomplishment and pride comes when children work hard at a project that they care about.
When campers and students expand their confidence and develop a healthy self-esteem, they are curious about learning new things, and at Museo Art Academy, our main goals are to instill an appreciation for art and a love of learning in all of our students. The confidence they build in our art programs enables them to take risks and work hard for success in other areas of their lives.
Learn more about our summer art camps for kids and teens here.
Myers, R. (2016). 11 Ways to Help Your Kid Build Self-Esteem. [online] Today's Parent. Available at: https://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/how-to-build-your-childs-self-esteem/ [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].
ArtsEdSearch. (2018). Students - Research Overview. [online] Available at: http://www.artsedsearch.org/students/research-overview [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].
Lock, C. Turn to the Arts to Boost Self-Esteem. [online] PBS Kids. Available at: http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/turn-to-the-arts-to-boost-self-esteem/ [Accessed 1 Apr. 2018].
ArtsEdSearch. (2018). Imaginative actuality: Learning in the arts during nonschool hours. [online] Available at: http://www.artsedsearch.org/summaries/imaginative-actuality-learning-in-the-arts-during-nonschool-hours [Accessed 2 Apr. 2018].
Sharing our love of art education, one post at a time.