Art Camp: It’s just like real camp, but minus the tents, sleeping bags, fire pits, mosquitos, s’mores, ghost stories, sun burns, threatening wildlife, and being outside. Oh, and with clay, watercolor, charcoal, sketchbooks and printmaking thrown in.

They’re essentially the same thing.

The Honolulu Museum of Art School holds summer Art Camps, spring break Art Camps, and from Jan 5 to 8, fro the first time had an Art Camp specially designed for students of Leeward district schools, specifically students who are recent immigrants to the United States, known as English Language Learner (ELL) students. Students were able to work with a variety of artistic media including clay, watercolor, printmaking and shadow boxes.

The camp is much more than a handful of art courses. “The program is intended to foster self-expression and language development for students,” explains associate director of outreach Justin Davies. “A secondary goal is to help the accompanying teachers integrate art into their own teaching practice. These teachers had the chance to explore a range of media alongside the students and engage with the museum’s collection.”

While students were busy creating art, Art School director Vince Hazen gave a group of these teachers a private tour of the museum’s collection (pictured above). While some of the teachers (who wish to remain anonymous) admitted that they had not been to the museum since they were in high school, as the tour progressed, they all asked themselves the same question: “Why don’t I come here more often?”

“Art Camp is very important” said Ka‘imiloa Elementary School teacher Mrs. Aviles, “it provides our students with a unique experience. It’s great for our students to have hands-on experience with resources like oil and acrylic paints, canvas, clay, and pastels. These are resources for which we sadly just don’t have the money.”

The students weren’t the only ones learning from the experience. “At first it seemed like this course was just for kids,” says fellow Ka‘imiloa Elementary School teacher Leah Candello, “but as it went on I realized ‘wait a minute, I’m learning something too!'”

Teachers interested in learning more about available school programs can contact associate director of outreach Justin Davies at gro.muesumululonohnull@seivadj