Kolby Patterson (left), Brantley Braxton (center) and Elizabeth Pettus (right) paint Mardi Gras masks during the Art station at Camp ART'selle Wednesday. | Joy Harris
Kolby Patterson (left), Brantley Braxton (center) and Elizabeth Pettus (right) paint Mardi Gras masks during the Art station at Camp ART'selle Wednesday. | Joy Harris

Fat Tuesday in June

Published 11:03am Monday, June 24, 2013

Camp Art’selle celebrates the arts with Mardi Gras theme

Joy Harris
Hartselle Enquirer

The Hartselle Fine Arts Center hosted the seventh annual Camp ART’selle for first through fifth graders last week.

This year’s theme was the always exciting New Orleans style Mardi Gras, including music, beads, masks and a parade during the traditional Camp ART’selle production Thursday evening.

Themes of past years have included New York State of Mind, The Beatles’ “Come Together,” Downtown Divas and Sirs and STOMP. Each year, the camp runs from Monday through Friday with a production showcasing the talented campers Thursday evening. The production is complete with multiple songs, a script and choreography.

Camp ART’selle’s staff is as excited about camp as the kids.

“I am always so impressed by what these kids are able to do in such a short amount of time,” staff member Karen Terry said. “They start from the beginning Monday and have a great show by Thursday.”

“The caliber of talent I see here is beyond anything else I’ve ever seen,” Hartselle Fine Arts Center director Kelley Redmond said. “Hartselle has so much talent in its youth and its adults.”

Volunteers act as counselors and helpers to teach campers art, music, dancing and drama. These volunteers are sixth grade and up who have a passion for the arts.

“The majority of the students are untrained before coming here,” staff member Melea Guyse said. “The counselors teach them so much and do a wonderful job.”

“Some of the volunteers do plays at the Fine Arts Center with College Street Players and some are in the high school drama department, but they all love the arts,” said Faye Walker, a member of the Hartselle Fine Arts Center board of directors.

Keilee Terry, 13, has been a Camp ART’selle counselor for two years. She used to be a camper, but now she is old enough to be a counselor.

“Camp ART’selle really gets the kids involved with theater,” Terry said. “That’s important because there are not enough arts in school. If they are going to become interested, it has to be through some other outlet.

“I like being a counselor even more than a camper because I get to take care of the younger kids, and they look up to you. I get to be like a big sister, which I really like because I’m an only child.”

Camper Maggie Guyse,nine, has been attending Camp ‘ART’selle since she was in kindergarten.

“The Mardi Gras theme has been so much fun since we got to paint masks,” Guyse said. “Drama is my favorite. I wouldn’t be in plays if I hadn’t come to camp here. Camp ART’selle inspired me to start acting.”

The Hartselle Fine Arts Center also hosts Camp After-Hours for sixth through 12th graders interested in theater production and acting. They showcased a documentary about Camp ART’selle Thursday evening.

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