Art Camp just keeps growing

Grace Black, 8, said learning to weave was one of her favorite projects at Art Camp at the Fruita Civic Center this week. More than 150 children have participated in weekly camps, taught by Vera Mulder, this month at the center.

This is the fifteenth summer that Vera Mulder has taught art camp in the Grand Valley.

“I’m just a retired teacher who won’t retire,” said Mulder laughing, as she explained the history of the camp.

Mulder said she and a friend started teaching just one week, many years ago, to help supplement the lack of art education in schools.

“Some of them don’t even know how to cut paper,” Mulder said. Mulder and Lauri Baker teach the basics, like how to glue without using the whole bottle, how to shape clay, and how to hold a paintbrush.

“We just are trying to get little kids interested and teach them some basic techniques that hopefully they can build on,” Mulder said.

Each week, the camps follow a theme that combines art and learning about world cultures. So far this month, Mulder and Baker have taught classes about art in Australia and Africa.

Some of the projects have included making homemade didgeridoos, rainsticks, masks and bowls.

Most of this week’s campers claimed their weaving project was their favorite so far. Mulder said weaving taught children an appreciation for how time consuming making a rug can be and it taught the children hand-eye and pattern coordination.

“I like it because it makes my hands active,” said J.D. Clifford, 8, who worked on his weaving for two days but still wasn’t sure what it was.

Grace Black, also 8, said she had never weaved before and found trying something new to be fun.

Mulder said the annual Art Camp in Fruita was sponsored in large part by local businesses through donations of items like paper bags and other craft supplies.

This year the students who participated in the Chinese-themed week were treated to rice noodles and vegetables by The Tea House in Fruita. Many of the students had never eaten with chopsticks before and they enjoyed trying to drop noodles into their mouths.

“I just love teaching,” Mulder said, adding it is the reason she has taught the camp for so many years.

The camps in Fruita will end this week, but Mulder will be teaching camps in Grand Junction during the month of July at The Art Center. A complete list of upcoming camps is available at




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