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Enrollment open for popular IMA childrens summer camps

Art, education and fun are combined in the IMA's summer camps for children aged 5 - 16
Art, education and fun are combined in the IMA's summer camps for children aged 5 - 16Credit Indiana Museum of Art

Just as warmer temperatures, longer daylight hours and spring flowers poking through the snow signal summer is just around the corner, so too is registration for summer camps at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

During one of the coldest days of the year, the IMA announced registration on Feb. 17 for its popular children’s interactive activities offered each June and July – no doubt one of the first signs that summer is on the way.

There are 22 camp experiences for children aged 5 to 16, ranging from hands-on art projects to utilizing social media to share created art.

To date the IMA has been selling an average of 36 tickets per week with two already filled in the 5 through 7 age group.

With capacity for 330 campers this year, up from 255 in 2013, 145 have already registered with six weeks remaining before the May 1 registration deadline.

“If this pace continues, we will sell out two weeks in advance of our goal, which is extremely encouraging,” Jennifer Mayhill, IMA senior coordinator for play and learning, said. “We are well ahead of schedule compared to previous years.”

The goal is to reach 80 percent, or 145 registered campers, by deadline.

Already “Legos, and Tinkers, and Blocks! Oh My!” and “Clay Play” for the 5-7 age group, and Mayhill expects “Super ‘I’” will close out soon.

With camps like “A Pirate’s Life For Me” and “We Bought A Zoo,” it’s no wonder the camps fill quickly. The two are one of 10 half-day offerings for 5 through 7 year olds, the former involving a pirate’s search of and hiding secret riches and the latter involving a gallery art hunt for lions, tigers and bears. Both will be held in The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres and involve children creating their own art.

In all the programs, children get to paint, sculpt or print their adventures and have an opportunity to exhibit their work each week for family and friends.

There are five all-day programs for 8 to 10-year olds and 11 through 13 and two for 14 through 16 years.

With the exception of “Imagination Station,” all of the camp themes are brand new, Mayhill said.

The current offerings are the result of a summative evaluation conducted with teaching staff, youth participants and their parents/guardians after the culmination of the 2013 camps, she said.

The results indicated that painting, sculpture and ceramics classes are the most popular offerings, which is reflected in the number of registration totals so far this year in almost all categories.

Camp fees pay for teaching artists and art supplies, Mayhill said.

Teaching artists are either professional artists or art teachers in the local school systems, she said. More than two-thirds have served as teaching artists for more than ten years.

“They are required to participate in an interview and portfolio review with a panel of Audience Engagement employees, must pass a background check and go through training in order to be considered for a position in the summer camp program,” Mayhill said.

She added that the camps have been offered since at least 2001, and were discontinued temporarily in 2009 due to the economic downturn and the structural changes at the museum.

“The Audience Engagement Department revived the programming in 2012,” Mayhill said. “Since, camp growth has been steady.”

Sessions take place Monday through Friday with a low teacher-to-student ratio. Fees for the 5-7 age group are $85 for IMA members and $105 for the public for half-day camps which run morning or afternoon. Art supplies are included in the fees but not lunch.

Camps for those aged 8 to 16 are all-day camps with a lunch break supervised by teaching staff. Fees are $170 for IMA members and $210 for the public.