By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Staff Writer
To Mattie Hurlburt, the people at the Muskogee Art Guild Summer Art Camp have become her second family.
Mattie, 12, said she had been coming to the camp for five years.
“It’s so much fun, and it’s very entertaining,” she said. “I like the instructors the most because they give really specific instructions, so they are easy to follow.”
The guild offers a plethora of summer classes for students of all ages. Classes include carving, painting and photography.
Linda Callaway, the art camp director, said the culmination of the camp is the art show the campers and others in Muskogee put on during August.
“The show is open to any student from Muskogee and the surrounding areas,” Callaway said. “We do ask that the artwork be framed if it is a painting, drawing or photograph. The last week of the month we will have a reception, and we will also hand out ribbons and trophies.”
Callaway said the mission of the guild is to bring art to adults and children in the community.
“There’s not enough art in public education right now,” she said. “The camps do make us a little bit of money, but that’s certainly not why we do it.”
Most of the classes in this summer’s camp were small, averaging about eight students per instructor. Two classes had to be canceled because of low attendance, but Callaway said overall it was a very successful year.
“We had fewer students, but all of the classes were done well,” she said. “It’s amazing what these kids can do.”
Heather Hurlburt, Mattie’s mother, said she thinks taking the focus off gadgets and putting it on imagination is good for kids.
“In order to see if your child is confident in their artistic ability, you need the smaller class sizes,” she said. “The camp is definitely worth the investment, not only for your child but for the community.”
Mattie said her favorite classes focused on painting.
“I enjoy painting nature,” she said. “I painted some aspen trees and a floral bouquet. I plan to enter one of those, plus another two from previous classes I took here, in the show.”
She also said if a student was on the fence about committing to art camp, the decision should be easy.
“I’ve gotten friends to come to the camp,” she said. “They like it just as much as me. It’ll be the best choice of your life if you decide to come.”
Louise Bishop, an instructor for the camp, said the results of a student in art camp can be surprising.
“There’s nothing like kid’s art,” she said. “The parents pick it up, and I’ve seen some of them have it matted and framed.”
Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.