A summer brush-up

Photo by Gerik Parmele

Artists give teens special training.

by Janese Heavin
reprinted with permission from Columbia Daily Tribune

Nearly 40 high school students from Columbia and neighboring communities are spending this week taking intense art courses on the Columbia College campus.

Hickman High School student Shawna Burhans, center, and Rock Bridge High School student Esabel Accurso, left, draw during an Art Week lesson Tuesday.

The second annual Art Week runs through Friday. For a $150 fee, students take a morning class and a separate afternoon course taught by artists and professors. That fee also includes supplies, lunches and snacks.

Columbia College began offering the weeklong camp last year as a way to bring high school students to campus.

“We saw it as a way to connect with more high school students and offer something we didn’t have locally,” said Mike Sleadd, chairman of the art department. “It gives students another opportunity to explore art in the summertime.”

For Christine Perkins, a student at Hallsville High School, the camp is giving her more specialized art training than she can get in school. Perkins, who likes to draw animated characters, said she hopes to learn new techniques this week.

“I usually do my own thing, but I need to learn the rules,” she said in an afternoon drawing class at Brown Hall.

Lexie Dickes, who will be a junior at Hickman High School this fall, enrolled in a painting course taught by Columbia artist David Spear to learn new styles. She took drawing and painting at Hickman last year and is enrolled in an Advanced Placement art course this coming school year.

“This is a different environment, perspectives from other people,” she said. “I hope to become a better artist just in general.”

Students also had the option of taking graphic design, an animation course, digital photography and printmaking.

A creative writing and illustration course is being offered for the first time this year, co-taught by Pam McClure, a creative writing professor at Columbia College.

So far, the six students enrolled in that course have illustrated their names and written poetry.

“I think it’s important to encourage creativity of any kind, especially now,” McClure said. “It’s as important to communicate with language as it is with visual art. There’s a lot of overlap.”

In addition to the benefits for students, the high school workshop helps Columbia College market its art program, Sleadd said.

The college has about 100 students pursuing art degrees.