SummerScapes Visual Arts workshop offers inspiring experience for teens

For more information or to register, visit

Young artists will be heading to Red Deer College this month to flex their creative muscles during the activity-packed SummerScapes Visual Arts workshop.

The five-day program runs from Aug. 12th to 18th and it is the only residential visual arts workshop of its kind in Alberta, organizers point out. Teens from 13 to 18-years of age will immerse themselves in creating art, telling their stories through drawing, painting, sculpture and ceramics.

“It’s an opportunity for teenagers to explore the visual arts in a capacity that takes it beyond what they would have done in middle school or in high school,” explains Rod Holt, the associate dean for the school of continuing education.

“It exposes them to drawing, sculpting, painting – and allows them to use equipment and artistic techniques that aren’t available in the secondary school system.”

Working with some of Alberta’s finest artists and educators, students will also be guided and inspired to take their art to the next level.

“The great thing about it is that it focuses on creativity. And whether you are a beginner or advanced, people are able to explore their creativity, and to explore those passions at whatever level they are at,” he said.

Co-sponsored by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, these unique core workshops will be supplemented with additional art activities every evening.

The experience of staying on campus is also a highlight for participants, said Holt. “It’s a full camp from when you wake up until you go to bed at night with a spectrum of different activities in between. Not only will you be learning in our workshops and in our laboratories different forms of the visual arts, but you will also have evening activities that form bonding and friendships, and the leadership that all centre around the arts as well.

“Sometimes, there will be art shows or visiting artists coming in the evenings to do demonstrations. It changes every year, based on who is here on campus for our Summer Series, too.

“So it’s a unique program, and it draws kids from all over the province,” he said. “In fact, most of our participants are from outside of the Red Deer area. Lots come from Edmonton and Calgary, and a tremendous amount come from Grande Prairie region. It’s also because of that ‘residence’ component; it’s that full spectrum (of events).”

The week of artistic creations will wrap up with a student exhibition for family, guests and the public. This event runs Aug. 18th at 10 a.m. in Room 2901 on the RDC main campus.

“All the students will display the various forms of art they have created through the week. And so when parents and family come to pick them up, we do a full-on, professional display. We have a welcome from our dean from the school of visual and performing arts who greets all of the parents and visitors, and then for up to about 40 minutes they can go around the room looking at everyone’s creativity,” he added. “They also get to take all of their work home with them at the end of the week.”

Holt said there are several projects within each discipline of visual arts where they also work on a group project.

“Everybody adds a little bit of creativity to one large piece, and then that goes on display, too. So it’s a little bit of collaboration, and then you have this piece of art that has a little bit of everyone’s personality built into it,” he said.

He said watching the youth have so much fun delving into the creative process is always a joy, as is watching them grow in confidence. “At the start of the week, everyone is quiet unless they’ve been here before. Those who have been here before are ready to jump right in! But if it’s their first year, you see a lot of quietness and shyness. But by about Monday afternoon, it’s gone. They’re excited – they are racing up and down these halls.

“They’re exploring all that the campus has to offer.

“By the end of the week, you are seeing tears as they are starting to pack up. They’ve built friendships through their creativity and their passion for exploring the arts.”

For more information or to register, visit or contact the School of Continuing Education at 403-356-4900.

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