Culver Summer Schools & Camps is offering a new art class that takes Upper Campers out of the studio and into the Robert C. Vaughn Stables for three weeks.
Equine Sculpture offers campers the opportunity create a sculpture of a horse. The class is taught by Jack Williams, the art instructor who runs the sculpture class during the Culver Academies school year. Kacie Hermanson ’12, who attends New York University, is the class assistant.
The Academies’ class last 16 weeks while campers have just three weeks, so some steps are taken to save time. For example, Williams makes the armatures for the campers so they can start working with the clay on the first day. But the basic concepts remain the same. And when the classes are finished, the campers will have their sculpture to take home.
“I’m hoping the students fall in love with sculpting and horses,” Williams said. Even if they never create another sculpture for the rest of their lives, Williams said students can be transformed “artistically and psychologically” by working on such a piece.
They will learn that sculpting is hard work, he added. The campers must stand for an hour at a time and focus on the horse’s details and transfer those to their sculptures. Since the model horse, named Farrah, doesn’t stay still, the campers must also move, rolling their wheeled stands as they go. The class happens five days a week over the three-week period.
“It is a demanding activity,” he added. “It takes an intensity of focus.”
Sculpting can also “become one of the happiest moments of their lives,” Williams said. Campers can find happiness and pleasure in their hard work. Being able to make that connection between what you see and molding clay with your fingers can be a struggle, he said. But once that connection is made, it can change how a person views everything, not just art. And that is what Williams is hoping the campers take away from the experience.
It may not be a significant change, he said, but even if a person lingers in front of a gallery window to study the lines of a sculpture or stops to admire the curves and angles of a horse, they will have been transformed.
That is what camper Celia Cox, of Leawood, Kan., said she is experiencing. She wasn’t originally thinking about taking the class until it was suggested to her. Now she is glad she did.
“I like it more than I expected,” she said. “I’m not into the art-type things, but this is way more than that. You learn about the horse. You can touch it. You connect with the horse. You can feel the different shapes, angles, and curves. I’m seeing a horse in a completely different way.”