St. Petersburg art camp gives children hands-on experience

Program at Morean Art Center introduces participants to glassblowing

Summer’s arrival left Tampa Bay area parents are scrambling to find interesting day camps for their children. At the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg, students ages 11 to 16 kicked off a glassblowing camp. “They are doing fused glass. They are doing lamp working and glassblowing and, on top of that, they get to visit the Chihuly Collection, which is owned by the Morean Art Center,” the center’s curator of education, Jonathan Harrison, said.

The glassblowing class is designed to take five students per week, and 12-year-old Ariana Saldarriaga is taking the class this week. This is the third year Ariana has participated in the Morean Art Center’s day camps and she has made everything from jewelry to clay pots. “I have only been doing this for a couple of years. I know I can get a lot better. I’m not that good but it just takes practice and time but I want to be really good some day and make huge bowls and vases of glass. Maybe someday I (will) be even better than Chihuly,” she said laughing.

Michelle Boylan teaches the class and said the best way for students to learn is to get some hands-on experience. “You really have to let them come in and do it themselves. The experience is amazing. I have people leave here and feel like they climbed Everest. That’s how wonderful it is to make your first piece of glass,” Boylan said. The classes are so popular that Morean Art Center added one more week of classes. The program occurs each week through the end of summer.

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