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Creative summer
Various local art camps available for children

With summer just around the corner, local arts organizations are hoping that parents will turn their attention to those weeks when their children will be off from school and itching to fill their days.

Slots are still available for the Creative Kids Camp in Newton County and ArtSmart camp in Rockdale County. Sponsored by the Arts Association in Newton County (AANC), Creative Kids Camp runs June 8 to 12 on the campus of Oxford College; the Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts' (CRCA) ArtSmart runs in two different sessions, June 8 to 11 and June 15 to 18, at Conyers Middle School.

Because the camps are so in-demand, arts organization directors urge parents to reserve a spot as soon as possible. Creative Kids Camp is already about half full, AANC Program Director Abigail Coggin said.

"Creative Kids Camp is one of our most popular Young Artists programs," Coggin said. "It's a weeklong intensive program in the arts - visual, choral, instrumental and drama."

AANC's Creative Kids Camp serves rising first- through sixth-graders who participate in a variety of art classes and watch live daily performances by artistic professionals. Children in first, second and third grades take instrumental music, vocal music and visual arts while those rising fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders participate in vocal music, visual arts and have a choice between drama or instrumental music. Live performances for 2009 include a Polynesian dance troupe, Laughing Matters improv group, and singer and storyteller Andy Offutt Irwin-Singer.

Each Creative Kids class, which is comprised of 25 children, is taught by a certified educator and aided by camp counselors who are former campers themselves and are in middle or high school or college.

"All of our teachers are certified teachers in their specialty, and Oxford College provides a laid-back and fun atmosphere for the campers to learn about the arts," Coggin said.

The fee for Creative Kids Camp, which runs from

9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., is $200 and includes the classes, lunch and the cost of the live performances.

"Basically, it's an intense week of the arts," Coggin said.

This year will mark the fifth summer at Creative Kids Camp for Maggie Davis, a 10-year-old Ficquett Elementary School student. Her mother, Kellie Davis, said that though the family travels each summer, they return in time for camp. Her daughter especially enjoys the music and visual arts components.

"It's very exciting for her to be around people who want to learn and are excited about learning," Davis said.

CRCA's ArtSmart camp serves ages 6 to 14 and children get to choose five classes to take each day of the camp. Classes for 2009 include drawing, watercolor, improvisational comedy and acting techniques, drumming, pottery, advanced acting, adventures in art, art exploration, music and percussion and acrylic painting.

The tuition for ArtSmart camp is $135 before May 15 and $150 after that date; CRCA members pay $125. Camp includes all supplies, a daily snack and a pizza party. Classes run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.

CRCA will also present the Missoula Children's Theater Summer Drama Camp, a week-long session in which children participate in the preparation of a play and then perform the production at the end of the week.

This year, the Missoula Children's Theater will be casting children for "Jack and the Beanstalk." The program is open to children from kindergarten through 12th grade and the participation fee is $50, or $40 before May 15. Auditions are at

9 a.m. June 22 at Rockdale County High School and rehearsals run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 22 to 26 with performances at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. June 27.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce children to performing in a theatrical production and, for the more experienced child, to continue their work over the summer," CRCA Artistic Director Ric Chiapetta said. "It's a valuable learning experience and a fun-filled week."

To register for ArtSmart camp, call 770-922-3143. To register for Creative Kids Camp, call 770-786-8188.

E-mail Karen J. Rohr at karen.rohr@rockdalecitizen.com.