Summer Arts Camp Brings Creative Thrills to Area Children

By Lura Jackson

“Imagination is more important than knowledge,” said Albert Einstein, one of the foremost thinkers of the 20th century. It was in that spirit that the third annual Eastport Arts Center’s Summer Arts Camp was held, inviting children from all over Eastern Washington County – and beyond – to participate in a five-day extravaganza of creating fantastical art. This year’s camp, which ran from July 10th-14th, had a theme of Fantasy and Fantastic Beasts, and it was thoroughly enjoyed by 17 children. 

Organized as a way to engage children in creativity during the summer months, the first Summer Arts Camp had a theme of all things French, explained Education Outreach Coordinator Alison Brennan. Children learned French stories and songs and participated in thematic art activities while enjoying French food. The next year saw children celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park System, giving them the opportunity to enjoy nature-related activities and songs and to become Junior Park Rangers. 

This year’s theme was suggested by child with an avid interest in dragons. Art instructor Sarah Myrick, who has led many workshops at EAC and owns Coastal Whims, a nature-themed art business, took the idea and ran with it. She designed several projects for children to participate in during the week, including building wire-frame Bowtruckles, creature eggs, troll houses, and fairy jar lanterns, along with a papier-mache dragon. Brennan described the creations that the children produced as “pretty awesome.”

Aside from putting their creative juices to work in the form of building art projects, the children were delighted to have the company of musician/storyteller Willy Claflin. Claflin, assisted by Maynard the Moose, shared a wealth of songs and stories that were fantastical in nature. Claflin also invited the children to participate in the process of creating their own stories, resulting in a change in main characters in Little Red Riding Hood to the Humongous Green Driving Sock, which resulted in some other interesting twists as well. The children got a great kick out of Claflin’s stories, evidenced by their frequent raucous belly laughs and joyful expressions. 

Many of the children were sad to see the week come to an end,” said Brennan. She said that the camp was so enjoyed by one boy that his family plans to come next year at a time that will enable him to attend the camp again. This year’s campers, who were between the ages of 6-12, were from Calais, Eastport, Perry, Pembroke, Whiting, Edmunds and California.