Imagination Becomes Reality

By Deborah Butler


It is an afternoon in August as I get to the Bay School Community Arts Center where the sign reads  “Kids Art Show Reception.”  I am surrounded by color, texture and multi-dimensional art—paintings, drawings, pottery, and murals--the results of the Bay School’s 14 artistic and creative camps offered every summer for kids ages four and up.   I glimpse imagination become reality in these displays on show.

 Preschoolers, elementary kids and young teens share their work from “Life’s a Beach,” “Artsy Animals, ““Fairy Camp,” “Creating with Clay, “ and “Art Du Jour Mixed Media.”   Sessions were offered in the mornings and afternoons for a couple of hours, sometimes for two or three days.

At 3:30 the first parents and kids arrive.  I watch what becomes a pattern for families trickling in over the afternoon.  A boy and his sister run for their art works:  “Mommy, here it is! “  They stand by their art and the first thing Mom does is photograph them next to it.  They smile broadly, and like every other child that comes after them, they see their imaginations have become real.

The little boy created a Junkbot, a 3D object/scene made of various materials.  This project was a special camp:  funded by a grant, it drew parents and children together to develop a creative project.  His mom tells me that it is a monster watching TV.  He shyly explains, “Here’s the TV set, and the antenna and the plugs, too.”   His sister created a picture capturing the beach.  “She had so much fun,” her mom smiled.  

I look up and more fathers and mothers come in the door, the kids flying excitedly to their art displays.   The flashbulbs light up the gallery.  One dad tells me with pride, “ He did way better than I can do.”

The kids enthusiastically embrace and admire each other’s work.   Several parents and kids stand in front of glittering Mermaids.  A parent, whose kids routinely come here in the summer, tells me,  “I think they like the experience because it’s not just about coloring in the lines.  They use their imaginations here.”

A well-worn path flows from artwork to food table then to the craft table.  The staff understands young artists; this is where kids collect eventually, doing what they always do when they come here—making art.  Using watercolor pencils and making leaf templates, they create more art to take away while the instructor encourages them.  “That’s the best coloring job I’ve seen so far,” she tells a very focused boy.  I am not surprised to see parents and staff join in.  Working with art seems to have a way of connecting everyone.

So how does imagination become reality?  The imagination unleashed and fed by the support among, and the collaboration between, these adults and children empowered everyone to do his or her best and to see the best in each other.  Here we get a glimpse of how art impacted not only young artists, but their parents and the staff too.

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