Submitted by Bonnie Zimmer

For the 23rd summer, Prairie Arts Council offered a wide range of arts workshops for all ages in the greater Rensselaer area. Beginning in 1993 with just six workshops, this year over 100 workshops were offered by 11 artist teachers. Classes were held primarily at the Carnegie Center but also at Gail Woolever’s Hand to Heart Studio, Wheatfield, Saint Joseph’s College Art Department, and the DeMotte and Wheatfield Libraries.

One exciting and important new feature of ARTCAMP this year was the move to total online information and registration.  Ending the popular but expensive and unsustainable large paper brochures, PAC distributed a hard copy colorful postcard with registration information to all elementary school children in Jasper and Newton counties and made the information cards available at all middle and high schools and county libraries in Jasper and Newton counties. While enrollment was down a bit this year, attributed to the change from paper to online registration, there has been overwhelmingly positive responses from parents for the beautiful new website featuring photos of all projects.  Thank you to PAC board member, Joshua Smith who designed and managed the ARTCAMP website.  PAC will continue to make improvements for 2017 ARTCAMP based on ideas and suggestions gathered in this pilot year.

2016 ARTCAMP again offered classes a full range of art media including drawing, abstract and realistic painting, collage, ceramics, jewelry, printmaking, henna tattoo, fused glass and more, to special off-site classes such as the Nature Photography Workshop led by Barb Lucas at the Kankakee River Sands and Nancy Klockow’s many fabulous jewelry workshops held at her home workshop. Ryan Preston filled two classes held at Saint Joseph’s College Art Department where adults explored Throwing on the Potters Wheel and learned methods for altering those forms. ARTCAMP founder and retiring director Bonnie Zimmer took “Tie-Dye on The Road” to the DeMotte and Wheatfield Libraries where 34 children and adults made unique shirts.  New classes such as Kelley Spurgeon’s Recycled Robots and Lindsey Preston’s Starry Night Collages, were total “hits” with their students.  Gail Woolever’s wide range of classes held at her rural Hand to Heart Studio located north of Wheatfield were also well attended and thoroughly enjoyed by her students, ages preschool to adults. Veteran teacher Doris Myers’s painting class thrilled her adult students who learned to paint a nature scene with reflective water. David Herriott returned again to teach his ever popular Fused Glass Plate workshop and Valerie Milhousen with her Henna Tatoo class delighted her participants with beautiful, temporary adornment.

The 2016 ARTCAMP Committee included Gail Woolever and Bonnie Zimmer, Co-Directors, Joshua Smith, Web Designer, Lindsey Preston, Claudia Pletting, PAC Gallery and Office manager, and Payton Lewis, returning for her 3rd year as PAC ARTCAMP Intern. PAC welcomes art teacher Ashley Welch to our staff of teachers this year.  Her love of children and art was evident in the faux ice cream sculptures her 3-5 year old students created at DeMotte library. Claudia and Payton  managed registration along with longtime PAC treasurer, Barb Michal. A huge thank you goes out to all individuals who helped with this important annual PAC event including Jane Hullings who was our ARTCAMP refreshment hostess all week. A special thank you to REMC for their generous sponsorship

For 2016 ARTCAMP, here are the numbers:
67 classes
373 students
13 teachers

If you have feedback or suggestions for next year, please contact us at





Thanks REMC for your generous sponsorship of 2016 ARTCAMP!

Thanks REMC for your generous sponsorship of 2016 ARTCAMP!