BY MADISON LING
As I stepped into Studio Create, I saw a whirlwind of movement and heard lots of excited voices. I was greeted by about 15 energetic children, two counselors, and Mrs. Leigh Ann Alexander herself. This is the heart of the studio—art camp. While the studio’s main focus is birthday parties, Leigh Ann let me in on a little secret. Her heart really lies in the camps and teaching kids the joy of expressing themselves. She puts an emphasis on the camp being “open-ended to foster creativity,” even teaching kids about math, reading, and writing under the guise of art. Also, she really tries to show the kids lessons about life, including, but not limited to, giving to others. Her camp pushes kids to seek out their creative spirit, but also teaches them about real life. Her down-to-earth sensibility, combined with reaching for the absolute most imaginative concepts, creates the best atmosphere for kids to learn and play during the summer.
Speaking to some of the kids who were participating in the camp this week, I saw some real, beneficial differences in learning about art in an atmosphere like Studio Create, compared to traditional art classes in school. The camps at Studio Create engender a much more free and independent spirit, allowing the kids to express themselves and let their imagination go wild. I was greeted enthusiastically with explanations of every single project the kids had done so far. Painting, drawing, and working with clay seemed to be the favorites of all of the kids, while another favorite included “art attacks,” where kids gave out “color bombs” they had drawn to boost joy. The best part of the camp, one child said, is that “each day is different, you get to be yourself and be creative.” Another child excitedly explained the wonders of expressing herself and showing her skills. The one problem the kids found during the camps was running out of time to create all the art they wanted to! One of the counselors marveled to me at how amazing the art was that the kids created, given how young they were. Her favorite project with the kids was exploding paint, made with vinegar and paint, into which the kids put baking soda, causing the bag of paint to explode, which brought seemingly endless fun to the campers!
Another, more serious project, was shown to me, this time by Leigh Ann. And this creative endeavor blew me away with its sensitivity and creativity. In a previous week, Leigh Ann had created a camp directed towards kids with a creative, entrepreneurial tendency. One of the fruits of this camp came in the form of a large orange box. This box, created in remembrance of her brother Breiner, was inspired in an attempt to create comfort in the hospital room of a sick or injured child. She chose to create a box of blankets, toys, art supplies and, of course, love, that would be placed in hospital rooms as a distraction not only for the sick or injured child, but also for their siblings. Its main purpose would be to draw attention away from the whirring and beeping of the hospital and instead, bring hope and joy to the family. The title of this diverse tool is “Breiner’s Box of Hope.” Created by kids for kids, in the words of its inventor, Leigh Ann hopes to sponsor this invention and bring this idea into existence in local hospitals and make a difference in comforting families in tough times. The thoughtful creativity of a child burst forth from the encouragement that was given to her at Studio Create, and brought forth an idea that could very well change the lives of many scared and hurting families.
Studio Create is located at 6285 Shallowford Rd, Lewisville, NC 27023. Call 336.689.3669 and be sure to like them on Facebook!