For the second year in a row WACAI is joining two other teaching artists to bring the performance arts of Guinea, West Africa to kids grades 1-8 in the Veneta community at All About Art Summer Camp. This three-week, hands-on camp, presented by Lane Arts Council, offers safe and fun, experiences in visual and performing arts that promotes creativity, self-expression, and teamwork.

This year’s theme is “Taking Flight” and students explore this as they sculpt flying animals in clay, construct wearable wings from painted silk, explore birds through watercolor, and experience playmaking, theatre, drumming, dancing, and singing.

We start the day with an opening circle where teaching artists share what they will be covering that day then the kids break into three different groups who rotate through the three medias in 45-minute classes. This week in addition to learning about the cultural arts from Guinea, students also do watercolor and create puppets. On Thursday, our final day, students will demonstrate what they’ve learned to their parents and community after morning classes in a fun and exciting presentation follwed by a popcicle party.

Students have really enjoyed our class and we’ve had a lot of fun teaching them various drum parts and dance steps as well as how to play a traditional Guinean shaker and sing in the call and response style. Carter, who will be going into 1st grade was overheard exclaiming, “I love this class the most; it’s the funnest!” Additionally, its great to bear witness to kids who are always vying to be the last one standing in the  “Pass the Bass” challenge so that they can go head to head with Alseny in a drum battle where they have to copy him to the best of their ability, including note for note beats and silly gestures.

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