Kids College: Immersing Rim Country Youth In Fine Arts

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There were few opportunities to study the fine arts when local artist and college instructor B.J. Sherrill was growing up.

"I always wanted to draw and paint and all that, and I had such a limited chance in elementary school, and even high school," Sherrill said. "It's important for kids to have some exposure to the fine arts."

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Last year at the Kids College finale, participants like Xela Viteri, above, let their hair down and celebrated the work. Viteri did an interpretation of Matisse.

That was the incentive behind Kids College, the summer creative arts program that Sherrill inaugurated last year at Gila Community College.

"When the program was initially developed in 2002, our interest was in finding potential young artists and musicians within our Rim country elementary and middle schools, and provide them the impetus to express their talents," Sherrill said.

Registration begins May 1 for this year's new and improved version of Kids College, which will take place July 7-18 at the GCC Payson Campus, located at Highway 260 and Mud Springs Road.

Officially called "Kids College 2003 Summer Creative Arts Camp: An Investment in the Arts," the two-week program offers a total of 20 classes for children ranging in age from 5 to 14.

The program has been expanded into four areas this year -- visual arts, digital and graphic arts, music, and theatre arts.

"Last year, we conflicted with the summer Children's Musical Theatre program, but Kathy Greenberg (who coordinated that program) left town, so we have picked it up," Sherrill said.

Also new to Kids College this year is a writing component.

While Sherrill refers to the program as a "mini-exploration" of the arts, she emphasizes the academic nature of the courses.

"This is not just a babysitting or crafts thing,"

Courses include:

Digital and Graphic Arts

  • Cartooning

July 7-11

Ages 12-14

  • Making the News

July 7-10

Ages 8-11

  • Bookmaking

July 14-18

Ages 8-11

  • Get Published at Any Age

July 14-18

Ages 12-14

Music

  • Music Composition

July 7-18

Ages 12-14

  • Beginning Guitar I and II

July 7-11

Ages 8-14

  • Sing Your Heart Out

July 7-18

Ages 12-14

Theatre Arts

  • Puppet Making

July 7-11

Ages 8-11

  • Play Writing and Performance

July 7-18

Ages 11-14

  • Basic Theatre Skills

July 7-18

Ages 8-11

  • Storytelling

July 14-18

Ages 8-14

Visual Arts

  • Clay Creations

July 7-11

Ages 8-11

  • Coiling

July 7-11

Ages 12-14

  • Cutting Up with Matisse

July 7-11

Ages 5-7

  • Paper Making

July 7-11

Ages 10-14

  • Color and Composition

July 7-11

Ages 8-11

  • Stitchery

July 14-18

Ages 12-14

  • Colorful Watercolors

July 14-18

Ages 5-7

  • Papier-Maché Masks

July 14-18

Ages 12-14

The Kids College faculty includes prominent local artists, plus some guest instructors from outside the area. They are Louise Anslow, music; Anne Eichberger, professional musician and songwriter; Dennis Freeman, storyteller; Lynn Haworth, theater director; Linda Nannizzi, clay artist; Laurence Potvin, music; Donna Rokoff, clay artist; Mike Rokoff, writer and cartoonist; Chris Rothenbach, puppet maker, needle artist; Grace Schoerner, journalist; Christine Schwab, journalist and teacher; B.J. Sherrill, artist; and Elizabeth Silver, artist.

Course catalogs were distributed in March to all Rim country elementary and middle schools, and to freshmen at Payson High School.

Additional registration forms are available at GCC.

Mail registration begins May 1 and concludes June 30. Students may also register in person at the college from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays through July 2.

Tuition is $25 for one week courses and $50 for two-week courses. Students can take up to four classes.

Gift certificates covering the cost of tuition may be purchased at the Payson Public Library and at the Payson Roundup. A limited number of scholarships are also available.

Kids College will conclude with an art show and music and drama performance at Payson High School auditorium.

For more information, call GCC at 468-8039.

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