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Children's Art Staff Person

Number of People: 1 (or 2 half-staff positions, This is a Staff Position) and 2 volunteers
Budget: $180 (Negotiable with the Children’s Program Coordinator and the Chairs)

  1. The Children’s art staff should coordinate with each other well in advance of the conference to plan art projects for each children’s group. Here ar the criteria we’ve used for developing projects:
    • Plan one project for each children’s group. Every group comes to the barn once, except for the Mid-teens, who come once with the Skimmers and once on their own.
    • Each project must be fun, adaptable to a wide range of artistic abilities, and able to go from start to finish in about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
    • Each project must be also unique enough so that most of the kids will never have done it before. This is particularly important for the younger children, who seem to enjoy more craft-based projects (which can still impart art principles), and want to take home something special from Star.
    • The same applies to projects for the older children’s groups, though Mid and Senior Teens often prefer to use he time for freeform drawing or painting. We’ve found it effective to have projects planned for the older teen groups and allow those who want to do the project to do so, and those who want to take an easel and paint or draw to do that instead.
    • Because the children like to take home what they make, group art projects should generally be avoided--unless a group specifically requests one. The one exception to this is often the special sessions that Skimmers have every year with the Mid-Teens. During this session, each Skimmer pairs up with a Mid-Teen and they work together--often on a group project. The Mid-Teens also have their own separate art session. And I usually plan something extra for the Skimmers as well, and the leaders can use the project back in Skimmerville if they want to.
    • Some examples of projects that have worked extremely well: aboriginal drawings; printmaking; designing your own coat of arms; making your own journal; jewelry making; cut out lanterns, and for younger groups, finger puppets. Projects that require significant drying time (like paper making) are sometimes difficult because of the weather. Many of the older kids gravitate toward the more self-reflective projects--like abstract self portraits, for instance.
  2. After your have your art plan together, contact the children’s group leaders as necessary to determine that there is no overlap with planned activities within each group.
  3. 3. Round up supplies.
    • Inventory what’s left from the prior year, make a detailed supply list for each project, and purchase anything you don’t already have. (Project supplies have been running up to $200/year for the last several years, depending on the number of children.) You can also visit frame shops, etc., ahead of time and collect their seconds, like mat board centers, matted frames, etc., so kids can mount and/or frame their projects.
    • Don’t forget basics like tacks, tape, scissors, rushes, paints, markers, colored pencils, drawing graphite, charcoal, paper towels, erasers, straight edges, a paper cutter, plates for missing paints, plastic cups for water, and x-acto blades. You'll need to pack everything you might possibly need as few supplies are left on the island.
    • Have enough supplies on hand so that leaders can participate too, and mistakes can be made.
    • Also have general supplies on hand--like paper, markers, and paint sets that people can come in and borrow during their time on the island.
    • Pack up you supplies in boat-worthy gear (i.e., remember not to make boxes of plastic tubs very heavy, and remember that all the cartons will be thrown from the dock to the boat; you won’t want the contents ending up in the Harbor, so secure the boxtops well) You can ask the Pels to truck items that are very heavy to the Barn and leave them at the path leading to the Barn.
  4. Prior to Leaving for the Island, you will receive a schedule showing when each group will be in the barn. Once you arrive on the Island, you’ll attend the Children’s Staff meeting on Saturday. On Monday, the Children’s Program begins, with morning and afternoon art sessions. Generally, we do the following:
    • Get to the Barn ahead of time for each session and set up the project. If you need water for your project, you’ll have to get some pitchers and carry it to the Barn ahead of time. (There’s no sink in the Barn.)
    • Once the group arrive, explain their project, launch in and have fun.
    • Clean up the “Barn after each session. This includes sweeping, and pouring any dirty water (with paint, etc.) down a drain (you can use one of the nearby building’s sinks) vs. on the ground, where it could be a pollutant.
    • Leave any materials that Shoalers can come in and use on one of the shelves. Anything you need saved for a project, you should label or pack back up.
  5. Share the art!
    • Kids have loved it when we’ve hung their art--either in the dining hall, or, in good weather and with non marring tape, on the porch.
    • You’ll need to make an announcement at the week’s end to have everyone pick up their art to take home.