A Summer of Art Comes to an End

This post was submitted by Ashley Harris.

Inspiration abounded during the de Young’s 2013 Summer Art Camp as young artists created incredible works centered on the themes of animals in art and large-scale sculpture during the camp’s final weeks. Campers showed off their talents in drawing, painting, and collage as they studied animal forms within the de Young collections, crafting pieces that displayed their careful observations and panache for materials. SCULPTacular week proved to be the most exciting week yet as art campers studied and constructed three-dimensional pieces that investigated the ideas of space, movement, and scale.

Summer Art Campers created clay animals

The youngest artists, the Apprentices, were introduced to the many faceted world of sculpture and were able to work with a wide range of scale, materials, and subject matter. For a still-life-focused clay project, the Apprentices sketched from Fruit Still Life by Flora C. Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick, and were able to carefully observe and study the glass fruit forms.

Larger-than-life glass fruit by Flora C. Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick

Flora Mace (American, b. 1949) and Joey Kirkpatrick (American, b. 1952). Fruit Still Life, 1997. Blown glass and alder. Gift of Dorothy and George Saxe. 1998.115a-h

One particular Apprentice expressed his excitement about creating a drawing from a sculptural piece when he exclaimed, “I’m drawing the 3D of it!”

Campers used 3D models to create artwork made out of clay based on a still life

The Apprentices’ absolute favorite project of the week was a multi-part boat sculpture inspired by boat forms in the de Young’s Inuit art collection. Boats were made with plastic bottles, papier-mâché, and paint, and the Apprentices sculpted clay animal passengers using wire armatures and air-dry clay. As a finale, Apprentices were able to float their boats in a fountain out in the Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse. The young artists were thrilled and delighted to watch their boats bob and float in the water. Teaching artist Mica Miro also added some entertainment as she waded out in the fountain to help keep boats afloat!

A teaching artist wades into a fountain to help young artist's boats stay afloat

The Artisans could be found exploring many different spaces inside and outside of the museum as they focused on the work of four artists: Ruth Asawa, Andy Goldsworthy, Louise Nevelson, and Cornelia Parker. They began with an exploration of the spatial effects of sculpture as they lined up and walked the length of the crack in Andy Goldsworthy’s Drawn Stone.

Summer Art Campers trace the path of Andy Goldsworthy's Drawn Stone on foot

After physically moving through the artwork, the Artisans sketched a portion of the crack using white charcoal on black paper. The young artists assembled and joined their crack sketches to create their own twisting and winding crack on the floor of their studio.

An art camper and teaching artist work together to create a line drawing

Later in the week, the Artisans ventured back outside to study large-scale works in the de Young’s Osher Sculpture Garden.

Art campers observe a Louise Nevelson sculpture outside in the sculpture garden

After a thoughtful discussion about Louise Nevelson’s Ocean Gate, the Artisans crafted their own monochromatic sculptures with cardboard and acrylic paint. These pieces focused on form and space as they showed the Artisans’ deliberate use of design and construction.

The Artisans crafted monochromatic sculptures with cardboard and acrylic.

The oldest group of art campers, the Masters, also created a piece inspired by Louise Nevelson using cardboard and monochromatic paint. The Masters looked at images of Nevelson’s work in the studio and discussed their observations as well as the artist’s use of materials.

Summer art campers create cardboard sculptures inspired by Louise Nevelson art

They then created large-scale sculptures with relief components that focused on form and the idea of many pieces coming together to make a whole.

A black-on-black relief sculpture in the style of Louise Nevelson

The Masters also created a multi-part sculptural work that challenged their designing and building strategies. Using linoleum-printing techniques, the Masters created patterned paper, which they then used to construct sculptures without the use of glue or tape. This engineering exercise produced pieces that demonstrated the artists’ talents in using line, color, and shape and also blurred the boundaries between print and sculpture.

Linoleum-printed patterned paper constructed sculptures made with no adhesives


As the 2013 Art Camp season comes to a close at the deYoung Museum, the Teaching Artists are left with great pride and appreciation for all of our interns, young artists, and families. Here’s to another successful, inspiring, colorful, memorable, and art-filled summer!

Want to learn more about the de Young Summer Art Camp, or enroll your child for next year? Visit our website for details.