Housing authority summer camp inspires kids’ creativity

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Joel Jordan took a brief look at the soupy mix of water, vegetable oil and food coloring that lay in the roasting pan in front of him and splashed a quick drop of more green into it.

He was trying to get just the right shading before he laid his paper on top of the liquid to soak it up for 30 seconds. Any longer and it would become saturated and unusable, any shorter and it wouldn’t have enough time to etch the amoeba-like patterns on to paper that he was trying to achieve.

Marbling is what his arts camp teacher, Renata Brewington, called it. Cool is what the rising seventh-grader at the Sallie B. Howard School said.

“It is good to experiment,” said Joel, 13, as he removed the paper from the mixture. “I like the unknown of what it will make.”

Joel is one of a group of children ranging from preschool to high school who live in the Wilson Housing Authority’s Forrest Road Homes’ neighborhood and who are participating this week in one of the housing authority’s arts camps.

The camps are sponsored by the Arts Council of Wilson, which is supplying the teachers and materials for the one-week day camps.

The camp at Forrest Road is taught by Brewington, who is the arts teacher for Stantonsburg and Vick elementary schools. Brewington said she enjoys opportunities like this week’s arts camp to expose kids to different parts of art.

“It is fun to challenge myself to do something different than just draw with pink crayons,” she said. “And if I am doing things that interest me, I know it will interest the kids.”

In addition to Brewington, the other camps have been taught by Louis Small and Morgan Stancil. All three of the instructors have been assisted by recent high school graduate volunteer Kyleigh Anthony.

“We are so thankful to the Wilson Rotary Club for providing the financial means for the Arts Council of Wilson to bring the art experiences and creative outlets for the Wilson Housing Authority,” said Cathy Hardison, arts council executive director. “These experiences are so important to the healthy development of our youth.”

Kelly Vick, president and CEO of the Wilson Housing Authority, said this community support is vital to providing these opportunities to housing authority residents on an ongoing basis.

“The arts camps are a big part of the summer for many of our children,” said Vick. “We are grateful to the Arts Council of Wilson and the Wilson Rotary Club for their willingness to sponsor them and provide our residents with this opportunity.”