After offering a pared down version of summer camp last year due to COVID, PCD's Arts & Exploration Camp is back to running at full capacity this summer. "It's really exciting," says Arts & Exploration Director Sean Garrett. "Students will always learn more when there are more students and more opinions they can work with, and arts aside, a lot of the kids are missing other kids. They miss socializing with each other, and they can join our community and do that here."
This sense of finding community through the arts runs deep with Garrett, who studied Ceramics at Rhode Island School of Design, was a member of multiple student clubs while there, and has spent years teaching community-based arts programs. "Ceramics has a long history and is very community based," says Garrett. "This was part of its appeal for me."
Creating a space that is accepting, open, and understanding is an integral part of a good community, explains Garrett. "This is something that is always part of the art world for me, and it is a big part of camp. I want all of us to be open-minded and learn that we come from different backgrounds and experiences."
From this place of community, Garrett guides his campers and counselors through a series of art projects that he's developed in preparation for new courses he'll be teaching at PCD this fall. To Garrett, this is one of the benefits of the A&E camp: not only do campers join a supportive community and socialize with other kids, but they also have access to PCD's facilities, faculty, and most experienced art students.
"Our art department enjoys great support, and that gives me a lot of freedom to expand the projects that we do," says Garrett. "We get to push past basic camp activities and make more complex and technical projects. I also get to pull in really skilled PCD art students who are mentors for our campers, and our kids get to have a really fun summer."
In addition to Arts & Exploration Camp, Culinary and Fashion Camps have also returned after a year's hiatus due to COVID. The return of all three camps to full capacity, says Garrett, has been made possible through the combined efforts of Summer Camp Nurse Lisa-Mae Costa and Director of Summer Programs Emet Schwartz.
"I'm really thankful to have Lisa-Mae Costa as our nurse. She's done a phenomenal job dealing with the COVID situation and a whole variety of ages who are still trying to figure out what that means," says Garrett. "And Emet Schwartz is bouncing around between all three camps, keeping on top of everything. They've made so much of this possible."