Summer begins and the parents may already hear the dreaded “There is nothing to do!”
That’s not the case in Confluence this summer.
The Confluence Creative Arts Center offers Eco-Art Day Camps, a series of three-week arts and crafts events with outdoor educational camps in the center.
“This camp is designed to provide an after-school summer science and arts program for children who may have had a non-traditional school year due to the pandemic,” said camp director Ashley Kyber.
Kyber, a landscape arts instructor, said this was the first year for this type of summer program at the Confluence Creative Arts Center. The program in each camp combines environmental education with hands-on art projects for children ages 7-14. Lunch is included.
“I teach environmental arts camps in several locations in the Pittsburgh area, including the Waldorf School and Artsmiths of Mount Lebanon,” Cyber said in an email. “In our Confluence camp, we offer art training courses that include ceramics and design with classes in ecology.
“For example, a popular project is learning to recognize trees by their bark by pressing clay into the bark to make clay bricks. We then assemble the bricks to make fairy and troll houses for the garden. Part of the fun is hiking and learning to identify low-lying areas that might have clay deposits and then dig for local clay and later burn it. “
Learning about the environment
Participants learn about the environment as they dig and sculpt clay, build forts, paint murals, and incorporate nature into a variety of projects, she said.
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The Eco-Art Camp offers outdoor activities that include classes in plant identification, river and forest ecology, and wilderness observation. The camp sessions include a variety of environmental art activities that are suitable in rain or shine.
Kyber’s experience in community gardening and community-oriented outdoor art promises to make lessons meaningful and engaging for young participants.
Students can attend any or all of the camps Monday through Friday. The first session will be from June 28th to July 2nd and will focus on clay projects. Participants will learn how to dig for clay and process it through a sieve before using this ancient building material to make various items.
In the outdoor and indoor studio, children explore ceramics by making fairy and troll houses, tiles and dream glasses. Mud artists will hand build and press their projects using air-dried and hand-dug clay. Some projects are fired from the pit.
The holiday weekend has a special art attraction in Confluence. In conjunction with the camp programs, the Confluence Creative Arts Center is hosting its annual Art in the Park event on July 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., which children and adults living in or visiting Confluence can visit multiple times to tinker and create art stations around the bandstand in Confluence.
Art in the Park is open to everyone and no advance booking is required.
The second camp will take place from July 5th to 9th. This session combines local history with painting as a result of large public art projects. Children learn about graphics and design by painting the streets and creating large murals for display in the community. Public art projects will incorporate the Turkeyfoot story and old regulations into legal graffiti.
The final camp, scheduled for July 12-16, will appeal to children who appreciate hobbit holes, natural forts, and mud games. Every day, environmental art and nature explorations are offered in Frogtown, a small stretch of lowland on the east side of Confluence. Once a wetland and brickworks site, Frogtown is the perfect place to create environmental art in the style of artist Andrew Goldsworthy, who used only natural materials for his famous sculptures. Children can count on hands-on environmental fun and plenty of digging, building, and creative nature studies.
More:$ 490,000 to local nonprofits
The camps are funded. With a grant from the Earl and Jeanne Berkey Fund of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, the camp fees are calculated per week and per family. Registration forms and additional information are available at firstname.lastname@example.org and in local Confluence stores. Camp sessions are limited in size so register early. For more information, call Kabler at 412-848-5550 or Jody at 814-395-3575.