ART: OPEN STUDIOS
Ballibay was originally a horseback riding and visual art camp. Founded in 1964 by visionary artist and educator Dottie Jannone, our open-studio learning format remains a unique opportunity for the serious young artist, and is great for campers of all ages and experience levels wishing to explore the visual arts.
There is a casual, relaxed manner about our art studios, packed with materials, run by an experienced, creative staff. Visiting artists join us every two weeks to teach, inspire, and design unique projects.
Our two studio buildings include studios for painting and drawing, ceramics, hand crafts and fabrics, photography, and printmaking, including a darkroom for photo-silkscreen. The art program also has a dedicated blackbox theater for puppetry, animation, light art, video, and installation.
For campers seeking a structured visual arts curriculum, the Farm Arts sessions are an ideal choice. Campers enrolled in The Farm Arts program work under the guidance of a visiting artist and our art staff for two hours each day, and then are free to continue their work in the studios throughout the day, and explore the many other activities offered at camp.
Our studios are open to all campers all day, every day. Campers in the 3 and 4-week programs, Rock Farm program, and the Dance Intensive can come into the studios any time their schedule allows, to participate in structured lessons and classes, to begin a new project, or to continue work on an ongoing project. Staff are always available to provide instruction, assistance, and inspiration.
PAINTING AND DRAWING
Flooded with light, slightly elevated on an old rock foundation, the painting and drawing studio provides a panoramic view of the campus. At any time of day, there are campers in the studio, some working in concentrated silence, others chatting casually. Our instructors move from camper to camper, offering gentle, individualized guidance.
Often, the camp’s animals and natural scenery find their way into the campers’ work, inspiring them to ask questions about the skills necessary for representational drawing and painting.
A naturally cool spot on the lower level of a turn-of-the century barn, our rustic ceramics studio decorated with Faux Lascaux drawings is a favorite spot on campus. The fascination with one of the most ancient and most basic of human arts, the creation of a vessel, is particularly intense in children. Our campers will spend many hours working on their clay containers, designing a basic form, creating decorations, selecting and applying glazes. Other campers lean more towards making sculptures with clay, with works ranging from small animal figurines to entire cities.
Our ceramics wheels are busy day and night, scheduled to maximize camper access; while the hand-building table is a constantly shifting group of kids casually chatting and working on a wide range of projects, with a staff person always close by to offer materials and tools, assistance, and inspiration.
In the photography studio, campers learn the basics of traditional 35mm black and white photography: using a camera, developing film, and printing. Campers interested in photography will be seen crisscrossing the campus holding manual SLR cameras in search of subjects for their images. Plants, insects, the star-glazed night sky, frogs and lizards, cats, horses, and their fellow campers; all will be eagerly considered by children thrilled by the magic of photography.
Our excellent printing studio, rebuilt and expanded in 2011, is fitted with the tools and equipment necessary to make silkscreens, linoleum prints, wood cuts, and mono-prints. A popular program, many campers create editions of prints, silk-screened clothing, and fabrics to exhibit on campus, take home, and give to friends.
FIBERS & HAND-CRAFTS
Our studio for fibers and hand crafts is a joyous jumble of materials, colors, and projects. Puppets, jewelry, clothing, sculpture, found-object assemblage, sewn and embroidered objects, and more are freely explored in this large studio packed with materials. Felt, wool, yarn, wire, wood, leather, beads, and countless other materials find their way into the varied output of this studio, while other media pass through the studio and are transformed: sewn photographs, wrapped objects, painted garments, printed fabric costumes for ceramic-headed puppets.
THE FARM ARTS CAMP
Our two-week and three-week Farm Arts programs are a rich opportunity for beginning and experienced young artists. With a structured visual arts component each morning, and ample self-directed time throughout the rest of the day, Farm Arts offers a wonderful balance of freedom and structure. Every two weeks, a visiting artist leads a collaborative project through which campers learn skills and techniques rooted in the visiting artist’s own practices. For campers who wish to dedicate more time to the collaborative project, or go deeper with the skills and techniques taught as part of it, our visiting artist is available throughout the day to work with individuals and small groups. Other campers will, after the morning program, choose to work on their personal projects, with assistance and support from our studio art staff. Campers in the program also have ample time to explore other camp programs.
It is called The Farm because that was the original name of Camp Ballibay in 1964; and in the 1960s and early 1970s Ballibay was not yet a performing arts camp. Kids came to camp for the visual arts, horseback riding, and an experience with nature, the outdoors, and gardening. While there are performing arts activities open to campers in The Farm program, including one-act plays and dance classes, many campers in The Farm love art, nature, and animals, and choose to spend their time participating in this gentle, quiet aspect of the camp.