2008-08-08 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance

Camp KidsmART Reflects A Very Dynamic RAA
Commentary by Christine Mullally

Campers gather with artwork and camp kidsmART co-director, Marina Callaghan and RAA president Geoff Rawling on the back deck of T-149 in Fort Tilden. Campers gather with artwork and camp kidsmART co-director, Marina Callaghan and RAA president Geoff Rawling on the back deck of T-149 in Fort Tilden. On your morning drive to work have you ever asked yourself, "Where are those teenagers on bicycles, in T-shirts with the word "ARTIST" on the back, going?" The answer: RAA's camp kidsmART.

For the past five weeks 185 campers and 59 staff members have been enjoying camp kidsmART's ninth summer season. Each year camp kidsmART is based on a daily routine that includes hands-on workshops in the visual and performing arts, and organized sports and games. The creative and fun camp season is enriched by theme days and special events.

This year camp opened on Monday, July 7. It is kidsmART tradition for camp to begin the Monday after the Fourth of July. Seventeen Senior Counselors, each with Junior Counselors and Interns to assist them, eagerly awaited their groups of 10-12 campers. At 9:30 a.m., the cars rolled in. Returning campers ran to hi-five familiar staff. New campers — particularly the youngest first-timers housed in T-6 (sTudio 6) — were soon smiling back at the warm welcome they received. As always, campers joined groups arranged by ages and named for their counselors and an element or animal found in the natural environment — the majority of which are native to Fort Tilden. So, Shevon's Shells and Fed's Frogs, Carolyn's Cardinals and Omar's Owls got to know each other and enjoyed a first week of camp complete with Wacky Water Olympics, the Jeopardy/ Price Is Right-inspired Hollyrock Gameshow and Black and White Day — when campers and staff alike donned their most stunning and whimsical black and white clothes.

Campers from the Tiger Lilies group demonstrate their cheerleading techniques to their T-6 campers. Campers are dressed for Mismatched Duds Day. Campers from the Tiger Lilies group demonstrate their cheerleading techniques to their T-6 campers. Campers are dressed for Mismatched Duds Day. The second and third weeks of camp, T-149 and T-6 wall space filled with group banners, collages, portraits and camper created digital photographs. On the shelves and tables it was easy to spot rain sticks, jewelry, clay and papier maché sculptures. Campers came to camp singing their group chants, practicing their cheers and rehearsing the latest dance steps learned. All of this was punctuated by the annual Antsy Pants Dance Party and Mismatched Duds Day; the Amazing "Relay" Race; a partnership with Surf Riders that included a beach cleanup and filming of a public service an- nouncement to be aired on YouTube; and interactive workshops presented by a visiting artist from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"Look! Up in the sky..." On Tuesday, July 29, camp kidsmART experienced its first ever Space Alien Invasion. The event began with a televised "newscast" of eyewitness accounts of a spaceship that had crashed into the roof of RAA's sTudio 7 Gallery. In the morning, campers watched the news report and investigated the crashed spaceship from afar. Staff members were dressed in their finest handmade alien costumes and the campers were bedecked in alien masks they had made from recycled materials in the weeks leading up to the event. The campers participated in a scavenger hunt throughout Fort Tilden, finding metallic space rocks with 'cryptics' on them and returning the rocks to the Moon Stage where a space alien — oddly resembling RAA's president — was able to collect the rocks and convert them into fuel for his spaceship. The alien's message, "Recycle Earthlings," could be seen on a flag hanging high behind sTudio 7.

Regrouping from their intergalactic adventures, campers gladly settled into an interactive exhibit brought to camp kidsmART by the American Museum of Natural History. The exhibit, which focused on dinosaurs, was brought to the camp in the museum's Moveable Museum unit. For the past several years, the museum has provided this service to camp kidsmART with exhibits ranging in subject matter from anthropology to paleontology. Finally, the week was topped off with a puppet show performed by the 55 youngest campers for the rest of the campers and majority of staff. The puppet stage, puppets and masks necessary for the performance were all created on-site at camp kidsmART by campers and counselors, under the guidance of Assistant Director Tara Scannell. Children narrated and participated as puppeteers. The show was nothing short of fantastic.

Color Clash. It's camp kidsmART's answer to other camps' Color Wars. For the third year, camp kidsmART's 130 oldest campers participated in the creative, athletic, cerebral and somewhat competitive Color Clash. This year's theme — Day v. Night. To break out Color Clash, the staff pretends something unexpected is occurring at camp and then they spring the opening of Color Clash on the campers. This year, camp Co-Directors Christine Mullally and Marina Callaghan and Special Events Coordinator, Ross Radusky,

Bally's on Saturday, August 16. The cost is $40 with $25 returned. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. Call 945-1216 for reservations.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of an outstanding gentleman, Carl Aliviado Sr., whom I have known for over 30 years. He was a great husband, father, grandfather and a scholar. I guess God must have had a special place in the computer department in heaven. Deepest sympathy to the family.

My deepest sympathy to the family of Christopher W. Israel who passed away suddenly at the age of 37. My heart goes out to the family. I'm sure that Christopher will be shining down as a special angel on his wonderful parents, Robert and Jeanette, his lovely daughter Caitlyn, his wife Annemarie and their expected child.

We are deeply saddened by the death of an outstanding dentist, great friend and a great lover of Rockaway, Dr. Joseph Fox who passed suddenly. He was a man who had traveled the seven seas and had a great love for the Rockaways. He was one of the kindest, most loving individuals you could ever ask to meet. He and his lovely wife, Jean, have given so much to our community. We know he is going to be a superb angel in god's heaven. My deepest sympathy to the family. broke the news to campers that the National Park Service was displeased with camp kidsmART's inability to recycle properly (totally fabricated as the camp recycles everything always) and that the campers and staff were going to have to spend an afternoon cleaning the park.

In the bags on the counselors' tables were the campers' park uniforms to be worn for cleanup. Upon opening the bags, campers found their Color Clash T-shirts — purple for night and yellow for day, all with an original design by Junior Counselor John Macrae on the front.

For the next three days campers participated in different challenges and created artwork, earning points toward winning Color Clash. At the close of the week, the teams performed song and dance numbers and displayed their artwork before a panel of impartial judges who had the difficult job of determining the winner.

With the final week of camp upon them, staff and campers cannot believe that another summer has come to a close. This year, RAA ventured to create more camp memories by compiling and selling to campers a 50-page fullcolor camp album that is in the style of a school yearbook.

Campers were also able to purchase other camp memorabilia that included T-shirts, water bottles, lunch bags and visors. The proceeds from all of these sales go toward constantly improving and expanding RAA's Education Department.

Finally, camp kidsmART will close its ninth season with "The Greatest Art Show on Earth" on Wednesday, August 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the sTudio 6 and sTudio 7 Galleries and on the Moon Stage in Fort Tilden. This visual and performance exhibition showcases the work and talent of every single camper. It includes original dramatic and dance pieces and original visual artwork. camp kidsmART strongly encourages everyone in the community to attend this free event and support the creativity of our youth.

As the sun sets on yet another summer, we can't think of a better way to celebrate the season.

Note: The date of this week's issue is a palindrome - 8-08-08 (reads the same backward or forward). Write the first letter in the first six words of the title of this week's column and all the letters of the title's last word. Reverse them. Can you figure out the 'palindramatic' (well, nearly) animal?

Fort Tilden Highlights

Next General Meeting: Monday, August 11, 7:30 p.m., sTudio 7 guest presenter: Laura Meyers -- bird photography FREE: SUMMER MOONS: Scheduled bands every Thursday under the stars in the summer on MoonStage & sTudio 7, RoCA, Fort Tilden. 8/14, 8:30 p.m.-12 a.m.: Hudson's Hope, doo wop with James McKay and Seaside Enterprise LIFE DRAWING CLASS with live model. Every Thursday, 8-10 p.m. in sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA @ Fort Tilden. Fee: $20 per class. No pre-registration necessary. Instructor: Geoff Rawling. PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: Tuesday nights, 7-9 p.m.; Thursday mornings, 10 a.m. - 12 noon. sTudio 7, RoCA @ Fort Tilden. $15 per class, supplies included. Instructor: Geoff Rawling. Rockaway Theatre Company: Philadelphia Story. Aug. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29,30 @ 8 p.m.; Aug. 17, 24 @ 2p.m. Hotline: 718-850-2450 ARTSPLASH submission deadline: August 15, 2008

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