By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Bright canvases slick with paint crowded the floor of the GumTree Museum of Art this week as the museum held its annual week-long art camp for kids.
Jeni Chandler, a second-grade art teacher at Thomas Street Elementary School, was one of a few volunteers who helped instruct energetic young artists through a variety of activities.
“They will have about five projects to take home,” said Chandler on Tuesday.
Pierce Street third-grader Emily Chandler’s favorite activity was using paper to form the petals on her painting of a flower.
“It was cool to use two materials to make it,” she said.
Campers’ work also includes self-portraits made with their fingerprints and small models sculpted from clay.
There also will be a “Night at the Museum” component in which campers will come to the museum in the evening to complete a project and see a movie. The camp hosts kids from kindergarten through fifth grade in the morning, and grades six and up in the afternoon.
Museum director Kit Stafford said, “We’re training our children to appreciate art at a very young age in hopes that they will come back to the museum as adults.”
The GumTree Museum is enthusiastic about outreach in the community. It invites local schools to come for field trips at no cost and also displays art from Tupelo and Lee County students every spring.
“We want to give children the chance to learn through art,” said Stafford, who taught art in the Tupelo school district for 11 years.
By providing opportunities such as the camp and TVA-sponsored art lessons on Saturdays, the museum attempts to draw interest from people who normally would not visit the museum. Currently, the museum is displaying work by Bay St. Louis mixed-media artist Lori Gordon, who will conduct an adult workshop July 27-28.