The SmART way

Art bursaries help youth attend summer camp

Claire Pierce and Lauren Mathieson, both ArtSci ’14, are counselors with Summer SmARTs through the Summer Work Experience program.
Claire Pierce and Lauren Mathieson, both ArtSci ’14, are counselors with Summer SmARTs through the Summer Work Experience program.

Through a unique bursary program, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (AEAC) is helping nine youth push artistic boundaries at their art camp.

The program consists of three week-long camps for participants aged eight to 16 and will run throughout July. To coincide with the exhibition, Critical Mass: The Sculpture of Shayne Dark, the camps will focus on sculpture.

“The main objective is to give participants an exposure to art-making that is beyond what they get in their classrooms,” said Patricia Sullivan, the public programs officer at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

The internationally-recognized sculptor Shayne Dark will take residency at the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum in Kingston for six weeks.

Students will have the opportunity to see an artist at work and thus improve their visual literacy, said Sullivan.

Despite having only been around for the past three years, the program is able to offer Kingston youth something new.

“I think what makes Summer SmARTs unique is that it’s artist-led,” she said. “I hire local professional artists to develop the program and run it.”

Along with the professional artists, Queen’s students are also able to take part.

The AEAC hired two students, Claire Pierce and Lauren Mathieson, both ArtSci ’14, through the Summer Work Experience Program. During the camps, the two students will act as counselors to facilitate the activities and aid the local artists. Another aspect that makes the AEAC’s summer camp distinct is that it offers grants and bursaries to its participants.

Sullivan said she’s pursued various grants in order to offer the program to the community at highly discounted rates or entirely free. This year, nine participants will be receiving these bursaries.

“It’s been part of my goal for the program that it be accessible to participants of all economic categories,” she said.

The AEAC reviews applicants individually and considers the financial income of the family when choosing who will receive a bursary.

To recruit participants, they advertise broadly and consult community organizations, such as Children’s Aid Society.

This process has turned out positive results. With several participants returning for their third year, the commitment to the program demonstrates how beneficial it has been.

A recent participant and current Queen’s student is a testament to that.

“We experimented with different mediums and you don’t get to do much of that in high school,” said Shelly Stone, ArtSci ’16, who participated in Summer SmARTs in July 2011.

Stone was encouraged to participate in the program by an art teacher while she was a student at Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute.

“[The program is a] great opportunity to get out and meet people who share some same interests, and to experiment,” she said.

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