Kids get to have fun and parents get a break

Daniel VanEps sat cross-legged in the animal room of the Walter Elwood Museum Thursday concentrating
Eight year old Daniel VanEps draws a beaver  during a morning art lesson at the Walter Elwood Museum on Thursday.  The program is the museum’s winter break enrichment camp. They have been having activities all week including tie-dying and painting.
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Eight year old Daniel VanEps draws a beaver during a morning art lesson at the Walter Elwood Museum on Thursday. The program is the museum’s winter break enrichment camp. They have been having activities all week including tie-dying and painting.

Daniel VanEps sat cross-legged in the animal room of the Walter Elwood Museum Thursday concentrating on capturing the likeness of the stuffed beaver he had decided to draw.

As he carefully moved his brown color pencil over his drawing paper, about 15 other children were busy finding objects to draw during the museum’s winter break enrichment camp. The three-day camp allowed children ages 4 to 12 the opportunity to play in the museum and enjoy various art classes and lessons.

VanEps, 8, of Amsterdam, said while he liked painting and drawing, his favorite activity took place on Tuesday when the children tie-dyed T-shirts.

“We got to get stuff on our shirts and no one yelled at us,” he said. “We made a mess.”

While VanEps was downstairs drawing, about 20 other children were upstairs in the museum’s exhibit hall painting folders, including Allie Krohn, 9, of Hagaman, a fourth-grader at St. Mary’s Institute.

The camp began Tuesday with tie-dying. Wednesday and Thursday’s classes were led by ceramics artist Suzanna Van Schoonhoven Hunter who taught the children drawing and painting techniques and taught them to work with clay.

Museum Director Ann Peconie said interest in the museum’s winter enrichment camp was much larger than she anticipated.

“We thought we’d be lucky if 20 kids showed up, but we have about 36 and people were still calling to register. We had to turn them away,” she said.

Peconie said the camp is good for working parents who needed activities for their children during the day. Children could be dropped off at 8:30 a.m. and didn’t have to be picked up until after noon. Peconie even devised a scavenger hunt for children who arrived early or stayed late.

For Marie Cotier of Galway, the museum’s winter enrichment camp was the perfect winter break opportunity for her 6-year-old daughter Isabella. Cotier said she looked all over Saratoga County for a two-plus-hour arts program during winter break but didn’t find one.

“I told the director that she really hit the nail on the head with this camp, because kids don’t get enough art in school anymore,” she said.

Cotier said she liked the Walter Elwood Museum’s homey feel. It isn’t stuffy and unapproachable like some of Albany’s museums, she said.

Isabella Cotier and her friend, Camryn Fisher, 8, also of Galway, said they were both having a good time at the camp and were enthusiastic about returning over April break.

Peconie is already planning a larger four-day spring enrichment camp during April break.

Categories: Schenectady County

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