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Expanded camp appeals to wide range of disciplines

Hartselle Fine Arts Center is spreading its wings to give Camp `Artselle a better shot at attracting the best and brightest of children, from grades one through 12, for young artists, musicians, dancers and actors.

This year for the first time, “After Hours” was added to the program for sixth through 12 grade students.

“This is a step up from what we’ve done before,” said Camp `Artselle Director Michael Ballew. “The focus is on stage setup/staging, dance-choreography, music performance and drama.

“After six years of Camp `Artselle we found that we had students who wanted to come back even though they were too old for camp,” Ballew pointed out. “Thus, we reasoned why not set up a program for older kids.

“We give them a choice of two disciplines to focus on and set up high level master classes to accommodate them. These kids not only have the opportunity to accelerate their learning pace in a chosen art form but will be able to give back to Camp `Artselle by serving as volunteer group leaders in the future.”

The charter “After Hours” class had 26 members and assisted Camp `Artselle with a 50-minute stage production, which was performed on Thur., June 21.

The seventh annual Camp `Artselle was conducted June 18-21 at Hartselle Fine Arts Center with 83 children of grades first through fifth participating. They were divided into four different age groups and rotated from one discipline to another from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The students were allowed to choose their favorite art form and permitted to spend the last 50 minutes of the day working on that particular subject.

The camp theme was “New York State of Mind,” and each art form was directed in such a way as to tie in with the overall theme. For example, in art class’s students studied graffiti art and used flower petals, leaves and vegetables to transfer colored images on linen cloths, suitable for framing. Songs were choreographed from four famous musicals.

The students and their art skills were combined and featured in a 50-minute stage production, which was presented on Thur., June 21.

“The concept of Camp `Artselle is to give kids exposure to the different arts, build self-confidence and develop roles for them to play in the stage production,” Ballew stated. “It also gives them self-confidence after camp. Parents tell me they can tell a difference in how they relate to others and talk in public. Camp really helps kids grow.”

Working with Ballew as department directors were Jenny Faulk, dance; Sonya McKelvey, drama; Debbie Johnston, music; and Angel Rollins, volunteers.

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