Growing up with the Arts:  Aspiring Danville artist a regular at the Community Arts Center

By KATE SNUDER
Community Arts Center
Kate Peterson’s favorite color is Purple Mountains Majesty. She’s quite specific on this point, which isn’t surprising because Kate is an artist – and artists have discerning tastes. A rising fifth grader at Woodlawn Elementary School, Kate has been a regular fixture at the Community Arts Center from the moment her family arrived in Danville in the spring of 2012.
“We hadn’t been in town very long when we took her to see the high school art show at the Arts Center,” remembers Kate’s mom, Jacquie. “We let her pick out a piece to buy and hung it in her playroom. That became a tradition for us and her art collection has continued to grow – both with pieces she has bought and artwork she has made.”

Kate Peterson’s 2015 arts exploration camp T-shirt was a work of art.

 

For the past five years, Kate and her family have regularly visited exhibits at the Arts Center. Her favorite was the Gamecraft exhibit which focused on the art of video game design. “That was the first time I made anything with Perler beads,” says Kate, referring to small plastic beads which can be fused together to create pixel-inspired art. The ‘melty beads’ have since made an appearance at numerous art camps, much to her enjoyment.
Kate is a seasoned art camp participant, showing up faithfully for the past four summers and throughout the school year during breaks. As she’s gotten older, she’s begun to take on a leadership role in the camps. “Having an experienced camper like Kate this summer was a huge help,” says camp counselor Sally Ann Finn. “She was a great example for the younger kids and could even assist on some of the projects. Having mixed-age camps lets younger kids learn from the older campers which benefits both groups.”
Kate’s mom Jacquie says that she’s happy to keep signing Kate up for arts programs. “The Arts Center provides a great environment for her to learn. I like that their programs often have themes, allowing kids to make connections and explore their world through art.” When asked to select a favorite personal creation, Kate points to a mixed media jelly fish painting she made during Under the Sea camp last summer. “Mine looked a little different from everyone else’s,” she says. “And I like that.”
For Arts Center Creative Director Brandon Long, kids like Kate represent the next generation of artists in the community. “When I was younger, we didn’t have a place for creative kids in our community,” says Long.  There were no places to take art lessons, and the best place you could ever hope to hang your art was your Mom’s refrigerator.  I think it’s great that the Arts Center can engage with these kids on a creative level.  Even better, they get to meet other kids like themselves. Kate has been coming back year after year. As soon as sign-ups are open, we know her name will be on the list. It has been great watching her grow as an artist. Who knows, maybe she’ll be teaching art camps for us in the future.”
Having participated in two art camps this summer – Bookworms and Rainforest – Kate plans to return this fall for more arts activities and programs. The Arts Center team will be ready for her!
So You Know
Fabulous Food Art Camp
July 17 to 21 | $100 per student
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. OR 1 to 4 .pm.
Art-making has never been this delicious!  Campers will explore the relationship between food and art, creating artwork inspired by – and even created from! – food. Open to rising 2nd through 6th graders. Register online at www.communityartscenter.net
Take Flight Art Camp
July 24 to 28 | $100 per student
9 a.m.to 12 p.m. OR 1 to 4 p.m.
Take your creativity to new heights in this fast-paced art camp. Imaginations will soar as we explore the artistic possibilities of flight. Open to rising 2nd through 6th graders. Register online at www.communityartscenter.net
Middle School Nerd Camp
July 31 to August 4 | $125 per student
1 to 4 p.m.
Inspired by science fiction, comics and video games, we’ll help you take your nerd game to the next level. Open to rising 7th through 9th graders. Register online at www.communityartscenter.net
Mini Camp
August 7 to 11 | $100 per student
9 a.m.to 12 p.m.
A special camp for our youngest artists. Explore a variety of artistic mediums and techniques. Open to rising kindergarten and first graders. Register online at www.communityartscenter.net
Coming Up
Painting in the Park: Fireworks over Danville
Thursday, July 13 | 6 to 9 p.m. | $35
Join us for our first-ever “Painting in the Park” – an outdoor painting workshop in the style of our Starry Night Studio classes. We’ll set up our easels in Weisiger Plaza (directly across from the Arts Center) and paint a festive rendition of Danville’s downtown streetscape – complete with fireworks! Register online at www.communityartscenter.net
Lunch with the Arts: Scott Erbes
Wednesday, July 19 | 12 p.m. | $7
Join us for a special presentation by Scott Erbes, Chief Curator at the Speed Art Museum. More information online at www.communityartscenter.net.