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Waterworks sparks passion for art through summer camps

SALISBURY — Educators from Rowan and surrounding counties are leading the charge this summer in a collection of upstairs classrooms at Waterworks Visual Arts Center.

Their work is part of the center’s ArtVentures, a series of summer art classes for ages 4 and older. Subject matters range from digital photography to ceramics, and, with 30 classes for the year, the number of those served as classes draw to a close next week will reach the hundreds.

Parents and guardians of campers look at the collaborative art poster the students made in class. Jon C. Lakey/Salisbury Post

Each artistically inclined educator offers a pause, a cheeky smile and wink alongside the proclamation, “We have to have something to do over the summer.” But a deeper draw becomes readily apparent as students unveil their week’s work each Friday.

The draw is the content they’re teaching: music, art, dance, weaving, ceramics — the list goes on.

Denise Paugh, an art teacher at Overton Elementary School, led students last week during a class called “Art and Music” — a spin-off class, she said, of Art and Dance. The class helped 6- to 8-year-olds start to translate music and movement into art.

“We’re really working to explore the way music inspires different art because of the different emotions it itself embodies,” Paugh said.

The students worked together to craft instruments and create drawings and paintings to rhythm and tunes.

Ah-hah moments came through coloring exercises, she said, in which the young learners put crayon to paper and went wild, allowing their hands to color to the beat.

Jarred Caputo, observing the work of his 6-year-old son, Gavin, along with Caputo’s wife, Jennifer, said the class was particularly beneficial for his son. Gavin, he said, has always been more artistically inclined than athletically.

“There are so many camps offered (through Waterworks) that it really is giving him a chance to be exposed to different forms of expression,” Caputo said. “I love it. This definitely wasn’t something I got to do as a kid.”

For Joana Suttle, an art teacher at Fries Magnet School in Cabarrus County who led a class on ceramics called “Secret Storage,” exploration is key.

With ceramics, she said, students get hands-on experience in brainstorming, problem-solving and “taking an initial idea on paper and pushing forward to make a final product.”

“These sorts of opportunities are precisely where a lot of our future teachers come from,” Suttle said. “A lot of these kids will first discover their passions in classrooms like this. It’s just a good thing all around.”

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