ART BEAT: Escape summer heat with cool Hudgens exhibits, camps

Holley Calmes

Holley Calmes

With the sultry weather making everyone hot and cranky, it’s nice to know that the Hudgens Center for the Arts is nearby to keep you cool, with plenty of “cool” things to see and do for all ages. The Hudgens Center recently opened four new exhibitions, and art camps for kids are going full swing.

It is especially nice for the younger crowd to have something educational yet creative and fun to do that is inside, safe from the heat and humidity. And even though the summer is half over, there are still three great weeks of art camp available.

Summer Art Camp sessions will continue for the weeks of July 11-15, July 18-22, and July 25-29. These camps are designed for children ages 5-12 and are themed to introduce campers to a variety of art making mediums with instruction in painting, drawing, mixed media and clay sculpture.

Using the current exhibitions for inspiration, there are two major camp themes: In the Garden: Exploring Art and Nature, and The Story of Me: Tell It Through Art. The first camp will utilize the Hudgens beautiful outdoor sculpture garden. The second theme encourages campers to “spin a story without saying a word” through the use of many mediums, and campers will make their own “book.”

Only 45 students are enrolled per camp to ensure that each child gets plenty of individual attention. The cost is $175 per camp for Hudgens Center members and $200 for non-members.

“Campers will participate in an end-of-session art exhibit each week where their artwork will be on display for family and friends to see and enjoy,” Hudgens spokesperson Kelly Haggard-Olson said. “Each week has different projects, so we have a few students who return for two or three different sessions. They love our teachers, Emma Grace and Miria Caldwell, who are both Gwinnett County certified art teachers. In fact, some kids love it so much here that they come back as volunteer assistants when they ‘age out!’”

The new exhibitions are inspirational to visitors and campers alike. They are definitely unique. Pressing Matters: Atlanta Printmakers Studio Annual Members Exhibition reflects the work of members who take advantage of the well equipped studio and diverse educational programs found at the Atlanta Printmakers Studio.

The Book Arts Invitational Exhibition brings in four established book artists: Brian Dettmar, Margot Ecke, Cynthia Thompson, and Eileen Wallace. These individuals have taken existing books and turned them into art. This can mean anything from simply embellishing the existing book or using the book’s form in a new way for a completely different purpose or function.

The third annual Altered Book Competition goes hand in hand with the Book Arts Invitational Exhibition. Sponsored by the Gwinnett Public Library, the competition was open to all Gwinnett residents in two age groups, 18 and older and students from grades six through 12.

Finally there is Pulp Fashion: The Novel Art of the Paper Dress. Library employees utilized printed materials that were to be thrown away, such as old magazines, to create some magically beautiful dresses and accessories. First seen at Barefoot in the Park Arts Festival, these dresses are an endless source of visual entertainment.

The Hudgens Center for the Arts is located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. It is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call 770-623-6002 or visit www.thehudgens.org.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.