Sisters Mira and Jasmine Schwaller and Aria Harness (from left) having fun with paint at Art For Kids eighth annual Summer Art Camp at the Sedona Arts Center.
Noah Lyn Williams with his menagerie created from clay, “Whatchamacallits and Friends” at his art exhibit on the last day of Art For Kids Summer Art Camp.
The safari started on the Africa savanna and ended amid the red rocks of Sedona.
The animals of the world came to life in July as 27 young artists joined the annual Art For Kids Summer Art Camp, this year titled "Animals in Art" at the Sedona Arts Center.
Sedona's premiere art camp for kids began with a full-day trip to Out of Africa theme park in Camp Verde where youngsters brought their cameras and sketch books. The group took in the Serengeti tour, Tiger Splash, the Snake Show and Grizzly Show before returning to the arts center geared up with photos, drawings and tons of inspiration.
"It was a lot of fun to spend time with the animals so we could see their patterns and pet them before doing art about them," said Noah Hurley, 11.
Led the first two days by artist Joan Bourque, students created half-collage, half-painted works in acrylics followed by a lesson on how to draw elephants which led to a black and white "Zentangled Elephant" drawing.
Day Three featured "Animal Totem Feathers" with fiber artist Cheryl Heimer. Youngsters were encouraged to reflect upon whether any animal feels particularly special to them or if certain animals appear to them regularly in real or dream life.
"I don't know why but I have always felt a special attachment with horses," said Rhiannon Driver, the camp's teen intern, who went on to explain that she later found one of the meanings of her name is "goddess of horses. "
Using a feather as a canvas to paint their animal, the young artists embellished their pieces with suede, crystals, turquoise, feathers and beads.
Day Four saw lumps of clay transformed into animals both favorite and imagined. There were giraffes with branch legs, a family of skunks, wolves, horses, dolphins and even some "whatchamacallits" created by 6 year-old Noah Lyn Williams.
Several sets of "Zoomorphs" allowed students to form animals to use in their art or just for pure silliness. "Look, mine has a zebra body, red wings and duck legs," said Ashton Bialek-Kling, 9.
Art camp culminated with more than 100 visitors to a public exhibit where youngsters responded to questions about their works and the creative process.
"I cried when I saw Serena's giraffe, it is so beautiful," said mother Shelly Allen.
In its eighth year, Art For Kids camp was made possible by the support of the Sedona Arts Center, Sedona Visual Artist Coalition, Heart Wisdom Conference by Women Arising and several local businesses and private donors.
"This year we were thrilled to have given out over $2,000 in scholarship assistance to local families who could not otherwise afford to send their child to art camp," said volunteer camp director Zenna MacGregor.
"Art For Kids' slogan is 'where teaching art is a work of heart' and this kind of support from the community is the heart part that makes what we do very rewarding," she said.
"Art For Kids art camp is my very favorite thing to do each summer, besides I love animals and can't wait to do art about wolves," said Payden Driver, age 10, on the first day of camp.
To view all of the artwork created and to see the children in action this summer, go to www.artforkidssedona.com.