2022 Summer Camp Recap: Ways of Knowing

As the summer comes to an end and we begin to set our sights on cooler days ahead, we’re taking a moment to reflect on the summer camp program at NOMA. After a two-year hiatus, we welcomed campers back to the museum for an immersive, art-filled summer camp experience! 

Our big idea of the summer, Ways of Knowing, invited campers to explore the various ways in which we understand and make meaning of our world. NOMA offered six weeks of camp, each centered around a sub-theme, and rooted in close looking and conversation in the galleries and Besthoff Sculpture Garden to spark campers’ creative explorations. 

With the Ways of Knowing as our guide, teaching artists and camp staff developed artwork visits, gallery games, and lessons that utilized a breadth of artworks in NOMA’s encyclopedic collection, spanning many time periods, art forms, and places of origin. Campers examined how artists and curious minds employ the five senses, emotion, memory, reason, and imagination to both create and look at art. Guided by teaching artists versed in photography, collage, poetry, and dance, to name just a few mediums of expertise represented within our teaching team, campers built their skills in various art-making mediums ranging from drawing and painting, to sculpture in wire and clay, to large-scale mixed-media collaboration! 

In this two-part series, we’ll share a handful of favorite memories from Summer Camp! 

Some of our youngest campers explored how our five senses help us enjoy our world in Session 1: Sensing is Knowing. Teaching artist Emily Chiarizio introduced campers to a special tool called a “magic camera” to focus in on a small window of sight at a time; a tool that became integral to carefully searching the busy and lush compositions of Dutch still lives for the tiniest details! Observational skills came in handy in movement and dance explorations guided by dancer and teaching artist Chanice Holmes; campers created and performed a heartwarming and imaginative group dance inspired by earthly elements that campers observed in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

Campers became time-travelers, exploring the depths of memory in Session 2: Remember When? Campers examined objects as keepers of memories and stories during visits to the Japanese galleries to view landscapes like Mountain Landscape by Nakabayashi Chikkel, and to Queen Nefertari’s Egypt to take a look at artifacts that were a part of ancient Egyptians’ daily lives. 

Visual art and poetry teaching artist Andrea Panzeca led campers to stretch the limits of elements of art like line, shape, and color in Session 3: Think Beyond. Here, campers are showing off their observational drawings of Lorna Williams’ Lore.

Here, campers are exploring reflective works in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden! Session 4: If/Then was all about experimentation. Campers found crossovers between how scientists and artists see and document the world.

Teaching artist Soraya Jean-Louis introduced the world of mixed-media making in Sessions 3 and 5, and guided campers through multi-session activities that interwove the last session’s works into the next. Session 3 campers’ “Wonder Creatures” were imaginative beings in mixed-media landscapes inspired by Wangechi Mutu’s Crocodylus. Alternatively, Session 5: Only I Know campers explored mixed-media processes as an expression of self and identity.