Painting smiles: Rifle artist’s summer camp puts children and creativity first

Eight-year-old Chris Lopez builds a paper mache beetle at Liz Waters art camp in Glenwood.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Camp programming is similar to cooking, said Liz Waters – the more you do it, the better at it you get. In her 20 years teaching art classes anywhere from Aspen to Meeker, Waters said her camp recipe is one that keeps students coming back year after year.

“In the summer I am totally devoted to the program, and that’s it. There is my attention. … It is really important to me that the children develop self-confidence and learn techniques. They expose themselves to children of different ages and different schools and develop their own communities, ”said Waters.

Hanna Rather is a former student of Waters when she taught at Aspen High School, and she taught art with her about two years ago. Now his daughter Adi is one of the campers who learn various art techniques every week in the summer camp.

“Liz enjoys what she does and the energy kids bring makes every day an adventure. The art projects she develops with the kids over the course of the week are immersive, and whatever the theme of the week, she takes them outside to explore what they create so that they best reflect it in their work can. “My children went to their camps and made friends they would not otherwise have made at school. Liz’s art camps are a gift to the community and our children. “

Each week at Waters’ Camp has a different theme. Last week it was It’s A Bug’s Life, and a handful of others are Birds of a Feather, Cave Art, and Art Around Town. She has students aged 5 to 13 and said the benefit of having such a wide range of options is that older students get into leadership roles and help younger ones with their projects.

“The following works for me: the older children help the younger children, and that gives them a sense of responsibility,” said Waters.

Another aspect of her camp recipe that Waters is proud of is hiring former students to help guide her daily activities. John Leybourne, 12 years old, is her Junior Camp Assistant this year, working with fellow campers twice a week. He said attending Waters’ camp meant that their daily activities were something unique and enabled him to learn more than just art.

“Her art class is never boring or boring. You can learn so much from her, ”said Leybourne. “If you love art and want to learn more about art and the many different types of art, take their summer courses.”

The Arts Camp will take place August 9-13 at the old Glenwood Arts Center, 601 Sixth St. Parents can enroll their children through the Glenwood Recreation Center website, where 40-hour weeks of camps cost $ 325. Waters said when individuals graduate through the Glenwood Arts Council there is an opportunity to apply for scholarships that can add to the cost of camp.

“We didn’t have that option of where I was growing up. … My art camp is weird because I didn’t think it would be like that, but I also enjoy it so much. It’s really about making the children’s souls smile, giving them a time to create, play and live, ”said Waters.

Six-year-old Eva Zancanella builds a paper mache beetle at Liz Waters art camp in Glenwood.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Rather, Waters added that including outdoor experiences in the camp strikes a good balance between indoor and outdoor activities and helps inspire campers to connect nature with their artwork. Every Friday of the camp at 3:30 p.m. there is an art exhibition that is open to the community and where campers can show their works from the past week.

“I really believe that art is a great way to help children grow in a playful way,” said Waters. “I’m telling you, I love art, I’ve always loved art. I knew I would be in the art world at her age. … It gives me great pleasure. “

Reporter Jessica Peterson can be reached at 970-279-3462 or [email protected]

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