The NAGB’s annual summer camp focuses on art and music
By Romel Shearer
This summer the NAGB is thrilled to present “Jammin’ Visuals”, a dynamic and immersive Mixed Media Art Summer Camp (MMASC) for ages 5-17 that will explore the relationship between two art disciplines: visual art and music.
When planning this year’s summer camp, the NAGB’s education and outreach team went back to the drawing board to design a programme that would be engaging while still adhering to present COVID-19 realities. How could we rethink our familiar in-person Mixed Media Art Summer Camp experience, to provide campers with some enjoyment and relief after over a year packed full of virtual school and Zoom events? After discussing many different possible programming configurations, the team settled on a new and exciting on-site/virtual hybrid model that would allow students the opportunity to work with trained art teachers for two days weekly at the museum, with the remaining three days allocated for virtual art lessons and activities.
Last spring, organisations and families alike were just beginning to process and contend with a new reality of sheltering-in-place and remote-work/learning. Faced with limited ways of engaging with the public safely, our institution quickly pivoted from its traditional summer camp model to a scaled down one in “Planet eARTh”: a two-week virtual programme of live and pre-recorded art classes taught by NAGB staff and local art educators.
In order to maintain safety standards for campers and staff this summer, we aim to build on the digital format we came to perfect over the past year, while also extending our educational offerings into in-person experiences at the gallery. Campers, in a socially distanced environment, can look forward to guided tours of our current exhibitions; in-person art classes with experienced art educators; working with a professional artist in the creation of a new mural; presentations by musicians, artists and other creatives; and participating in fun activities and games in our Art Park and green space.
The visual arts and music are two creative disciplines that, while perhaps differing in their technique and approach, share the same potential for telling stories and expressing that which makes us human, regardless of divergences in language or culture. From time immemorial, visual artists have drawn inspiration from musicians—and vice versa—when conceiving their works. Whether it be reflected in the fluidity or staccato of an artist’s paintbrush stroke or overt musical references woven into film and performance arts, there is a wealth of examples that is sure to excite the senses.
When asked what he wishes for campers to take away from this summer’s camp, NAGB Education Officer Blake Fox says that he hopes “students will see the potential of art to transcend disciplines. Music plays such a crucial part in Bahamian art—from references to Junkanoo in the work of Brent Malone and John Beadle, to the lyricism in the abstract work of Kendal Hanna. Moreover, skills from different disciplines are often transferrable, so artists can learn from musicians and vice versa.”
In each one-week session, campers will learn to identify these cross-disciplinary techniques in our beloved Bahamian art canon and also incorporate them into their own original artwork. Campers will learn how artisans design and construct instruments that are both visually and aurally pleasing, explore examples of artworks that were directly inspired by music, investigate the use of messaging and activism in artworks, and delve into immersive performance art scapes that bring together the best of visual art, music and technology.
This year’s MMASC will close with a physical and virtual summer camp exhibition that showcases work from each camper. The physical exhibition will be on display at the NAGB in its Project Space, and the virtual exhibition can be accessed through the museum’s website.