Girdwood Fine Arts Camp: Since 1987
By Briana Sullivan
At the end of each summer, Girdwood Fine Arts Camp takes over Challenge Alaska. Artistic energy beams from the hill above the Bear Cub Quad. Tables beneath the deck were covered with paper and colorful wet paint. Kids bent over their works of art, paintbrushes in hand.
The white mountain stands out on Sienna Veatch’s canvas, considering the summer-green surroundings. Veatch is working on intricate details of her winter outfit that take focus and concentration.
This is the 32nd season for the highly anticipated annual program, which brings professional artists and students together to teach and inspire. Each artist is paired with groups of 10 children, for both primary and intermediate sessions, Monday through Friday. Artist and Co-Director Jimmy Riordan guided intermediate students in a painting activity in which no water was used to mix or blend and reviewed the basics of creating new colors from primary colors.
A group upstairs was on the deck with artist Kate Williamson, finishing stained glass work. Outside, budding artists waited patiently to have their pieces solderized. Their glass shapes lie on a plate, set to be bound by a 600-800 degree solder iron, which melts the metals and connects the piece, turning the edges into a shiny silver. The pieces looked professional.
Twelve-year old Jocelyn Molen circled the table with a large lavender piece, ready for soldering.
“I thought it would be cool because I’m starting a garden in my yard. I like to do abstract stuff.” She did stained glass for a few years at art camp, adding “All my other pieces were bright and colorful, so I wanted something subtle.” Molen planned to put her stained glass in the ground, with copper wire as a stand.
Kate Williamson learned the art of stained glass from Jim Kaiser, who was doing it for 40 years.
“It’s really fun. They’re doing great,” shared Williamson. “I definitely don’t have to help them with their designs – they’re going to town.”
The upcoming Comic Book and Graphic Novel Intensive is led by experienced writing professionals and cartoonists. Visiting artist John G. John is a Cleveland based cartoonist known for his work on the Lake Eerie Monster. Well-known Anchorage journalist Julia O’Malley will guide the writing workshop with cartoonist Lee Post.
The Arts Camp team of co directors this year includes Jimmy Riorden, Tommy O’Malley (cofounder of the Arts Camp), Carrie McLain, and Amber Molen. The Girdwood Fine Arts Camp continues to partner with Challenge Alaska, which provides their building with its fantastic light, variety of workspaces, and a magnificent natural setting that inspires creativity. Come see all the artwork this Friday!