RAM Talks Art: Camp Collage final performance July 24 at RAM, free and open to the public

When I was younger, summer was my favorite time of year. Not only did it mean an escape from school for three glorious months, but it also meant I would be spending my days at camp, playing games and making crafts and meeting new friends from all over the city.
This year, Rockford Art Museum (RAM), in collaboration with Discovery Center Museum (DC) and Rockford Dance Company (RDC), is once again hosting a camp in which my 9-year-old self would have been eager to participate: Camp Collage, July 20-24.

Each year, the participating organizations solicit student recommendations from third- through fifth-grade teachers in Rockford Public School District 205 (RPS 205). We then sort through these recommendations to find 60 students who are passionate about art, dance and science to participate in Camp Collage, a free, weeklong summer camp at Riverfront Museum Park. For children whose families have limited financial means, Camp Collage provides them with an opportunity to have the same camp experience as their peers.

This year’s theme for Camp Collage is “Seven Wonders of the World.” Campers will spend a week with the collaborating organizations, doing integrated activities that teach them about the seven wonders of the ancient world. After four days of camp, a final performance on Friday is a chance for campers to show off their hard work and creativity to their families and friends.

You may be wondering why we chose the seven wonders of the ancient world as a topic for Camp Collage. The monuments we will study were considered to be awe-inspiring, whether because of their artistry, their engineering skill, or simply because of their awesome scale. The seven wonders of the ancient world include the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Helios at Rhodes, and the Lighthouse at Alexandria.

So how exactly do RAM, DC and RDC tie together such a broad topic? Campers visit each organization and do hands-on activities that relate to the theme. With Rockford Art Museum, campers will explore the art of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics while learning about the Great Pyramid of Khufu. We will discuss Greek mythology and the importance of the Statue of Zeus on Olympia. Archeologists have discovered only one known image of the statue on the back of ancient Greek coins, and campers will create their own Zeus coins. Campers will also create torn-paper mosaics that might be found in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.

With Discovery Center, students will explore the simple machines that were used to create these massive structures. Since the majority of these wonders were destroyed by earthquakes, students will discover what it takes to create an earthquake-proof structure. The final performance Friday will be directed by Rockford Dance Company, and will include dances the students created throughout the week.

Thanks to the generosity of Bunny and John Schmidt, Camp Collage goes to two weeklong sessions next year, doubling the number of campers this program can serve. Don’t miss the Camp Collage final performance at 1 p.m., Friday, July 24, at Rockford Art Museum. It’s free and open to the public.

Contact Rockford Art Museum Education Coordinator Stacey Sauer at ssauer@rockfordartmuseum.org.

from the July 22-28, 2009, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!