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May 7, 2021

Center for Faith & the Arts hosts arts camp

By Katie Scarvey
kscarvey@salisburypost.com
On Wednesday morning in the basement of Haven Lutheran Church basement, Rick Smith, director of music ministries at First Presbyterian, is sitting on the floor with a bunch of young people.
They are holding lengths of PVC pipe — Maori dance sticks — which are being banged together, rhythmically.
In the next room, Matt Newton, director of the Salisbury Rowan Choral Society, is sitting at a keyboard with several students who are getting vocal instruction.
Down the hall, Karen Campbell is helping children make collages, part of an exploration of self and one’s place in the world.
Upstairs, Lisa Boguslaw is leading a dance class, which occasionally causes the Center for Faith & the Arts office ceiling to shake a bit.
Also upstairs, Jessica Buckwalter, who runs the Salisbury Art Station, is helping students prepare pieces of dry wall to be etched and then later painted.
Down the hall, Emily Bartsch, wearing paint-spattered jeans, sits at a table with a group of teenagers, including Briashia, who was working on her painting’s blue sky.
“It brings peace to my soul,” Briashia says. “I love art.”
• • •
There are many summer art opportunities for young people in Salisbury, but so far, nothing quite like the new camp run by Center for Faith & the Arts, “Wake Up Leonardo!”
“Leonardo,” presumably, besides being the original Renaissance man, is the powerful artist that resides in each of us, waiting to find fulfillment.
This week, more than 50 children, ages 5-17, participated in the camp, which consisted of eight different classes, with one paid teacher and one volunteer supervising each class.
Students chose one of two tracks: visual arts or performing arts.
The week-long camp was held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Haven Lutheran Church, also home to the office of Center for Faith & the Arts. Classes met throughout the church, thanks to the generosity of Haven Lutheran, said CFA executive director Grace Smith.
Smith, who became the center’s director in February, says that about 80 percent of the participants, including children from the Nazareth Children’s Home, received partial or full scholarships for the week.
“We did not turn down a single person who asked for a scholarship,” said Smith, who added that she’s proud of the numbers the academy is serving in its first year.
The week was made possible in large part by a grant from the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation.
The creation camp is a new adventure for Center for Faith & the Arts, Smith said, and a “tremendous outreach to the community,” particularly to those families who would not be able to afford such an opportunity for their children.
Seth Holtzman, chair of the CFA board of directors, says that the center hopes that the camp will continue to grow in years to come, with the ultimate goal of holding it throughout the summer.
The participants are a diverse bunch, says CFA program director Kristopher Watson, noting that there is a child with autism and another with Down syndrome who are enjoying the week.
The instructors are artists and musicians from the local community.
The performing arts track included classes in rhythm and hand chimes, dance, acting and vocal performance. The visual arts track offered instruction in painting, pottery, collage and creative writing, and drawing.
Busy artists get hungry, so food blogger Leslie Dunkin brought her own brand of creativity to snack time every day.
On Wednesday, students filed by for a “Wake Up Caterpillar” snack. Slices of cucumber formed the body of a caterpillar, which sported a cherry tomato head. On the same plate was a baggie of snack mix, with a clothespin in the middle to give it a butterfly shape. Pipe cleaner antennae completed the illusion.
The snacks were not only fun, Smith said, but “incredibly nutritious” and also a part of the creative process. As students munched in the fellowship hall, they got some entertainment as well: Lisa Boguslaw’s dance students were getting their groove on at the end of the room.
After snack, Buckwalter was back in her classroom with another group of students tackling the same etching project.
After sanding down the boards, students were ready to carve, using plastic spoons, corn skewers and whatever implement did the job.
“After we carve, we’re going to paint,” Buckwalter said.
That pronouncement was met with loud cheers.
Some students were still thinking about the “open-mouth” pottery they’d done the day before.
“I made a shark,” said Elijah Oakley, who will be a 5th-grader at Hurley in the fall.
The clay creations were taken to Pottery 101 to be fired there and later returned to the students.
“Can we draw anything we want? I mean carve anything we want,” said Daniel, poised to begin.
“As long as it’s not bad stuff,” Buckwalter said.
“Why would we do that?” another student asked.
Yasmine noticed Salisbury Post photographer Jon Lakey in the room.
“Nice shirt!” She said. “You must be from the news place.
“I want to be an artist and I want to work for the newspaper,” she said.
“I want to be a lot of things when I grow up.”
Please contact the Center for Faith & the Arts at 704-647-0999 or faithart@bellsouth.net if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the program. Center for Faith & the Arts is located in the lower level of Haven Lutheran Church, 207 W. Harrison St.

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