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Home Is Where the Art Is brings Cultural Centre summer camps to a tablet near you

July 9, 2020   ·   0 Comments

For many of us lately, our homes have been an all-purpose hub to live, work and play during this time of social distancing.

Now, thanks to some clever re-thinking from organizations like the Aurora Cultural Centre, home is also the setting for new kinds of summer camp experiences.

Home Is Where the Art Is, the Aurora Cultural Centre’s new Virtual Summer Camps program, launches this week with what is billed as a “dynamic blend of live-online and offline learning, along with games, dance parties and virtual snack times together.”

“This isn’t just crafty things you can find on YouTube!” says Leanne DiMonte, Education and Outreach Manager for the Aurora Cultural Centre.

Working with counsellors Amanda, Cassandra, Madison and Nicole, Ms. DiMonte helped develop Home Is Where the Art Is as a brand-new virtual program based on feedback from patrons and parents. Their feedback was clear: as circumstances surrounding the global pandemic threw cold water on facilitating in-person camps in a safe and healthy way, they wanted a “virtual program that is active and engaging and not just more screen time.”

“That is really what we’re trying to achieve with this,” she says. “The program features a blend of what we call our ‘live-online’ and offline learning. Offline learning features instructional video tutorials that get posted daily for campers to access and they are essentially step by step guides on how to create an art piece while encouraging tactile learning. Some of the projects are messy, so we want you to go into your yard or take it to the park! Parents want something that actually gets their kids up and moving.

“The live-online learning is really a place where campers can log on each day and interact with their fellow counsellors. There will be an art technique that is discussed, but it is also a time to play games. There might be a virtual dance party, a drama game, or maybe they will just have snack time with their friends. Some of the feedback we got from parents, too, was that sometimes it is just nice for them to talk to each other and maybe have a little show-and-tell on what they have created so far.”
Adding to the virtual fun, “special guests” will be introduced throughout the summer, including some current and former gallery artists, musicians who have performed at the Aurora Cultural Centre or for Cultural Centre programs outside of 22 Church Street, and more.

“We wanted to make something that is really fun and we pulled from the various themes that we had already created; we have Artistic Imaginations, which is learning how to create mythical creatures like unicorns and dragons; we have Arts Through the Ages, which is like an art history week; there’s Sculpt It, which is all about clay and model magic. There’s lots of different tools and materials that can get used throughout the summer and we are providing the art supplies.”

The Cultural Centre’s curbside pickup program for camp materials is already underway, with the first batch prepared for pickup from the Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex. Aside from a couple of further at-home supplies, all you need to take part in the program, once registered, is a computer or tablet and a good internet connection.

“We wanted to make it really accessible for parents because we recognize you might not be able to source out clay on your own and things like that, and that is why we decided to create the Art Kit and curbside pickup,” says Ms. DiMonte. “We have been running ever since we decided to launch this. There are lots of new logistical challenges, but we have an incredible team and they have really developed great skillsets. We’re doing a lot of video editing, we’re learning a lot of new technology, but what we have created does respond to what parents were asking for, which is something fun, active, engaging and safe – because it is done from the comfort of your own home, you can guarantee the safety of your child.

“As we develop this new normal, I think we may continue this virtual learning. We are looking right now at offering virtual learning for our adult patrons, likely in the fall, depending on what the world looks like then, but we may offer some adult programming that is online, or maybe it is a blend of both online and in-person. It has really been a very interesting learning curve for us and next week we’ll learn a lot more once parents react to [the camp program].”

Home Is Where the Art Is camps are on now and will run each week through August 28. For more information, including registration, visit or call 905-713-1818.

By Brock Weir



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