Jaxon Haas holds the javalina piggy bank he made at the PCAA summer art camp. Photo by Marion Vendituoli

The Patagonia Museum was filled with the sounds of excited children and their families on June 30. The attendees had come to celebrate the opening of an exhibit showcasing the artwork of the 30 campers who had attended the Patagonia Creative Arts Association Summer Art Camp. 

The central hall of the museum and exhibit rooms were festooned with brightly colored paintings, banners, birdhouses, javalina piggy banks, origami, drawings, illustrated stories and more. There were mobiles, hangings, tables covered with art, and beautiful butterflies were migrating on string throughout the museum. Much of the artwork was created with recycled materials. 

The theme for the camp this year was “What we love about Patagonia,” according to Cassina Farley, executive director of the Arts Association as well as camp director. Campers, families, friends, and community supporters of the arts were encouraged to touch, read, and even play with some of the projects as they walked through the museum. 

All the campers wrote and illustrated their own Patagonia Folk Tale, under the direction of Audrey Doles. “The kids did a really great job coming up with unique stories about Patagonia,” she said. Campers created a watercolor and title page for their original stories. Topics covered a wide range, including “How Patagonia Got Its Mountains,” “How the Hummingbird Got Her Name,” “How the Animals Lost Their Voices,” “How Did the Spirit Tree Get Here?” and “How the Rainbow Got to Patagonia,” a story about a border crossing. 

Before a community potluck was served to the guests, Farley spoke on the steps of the museum, surrounded by campers and the instructors and volunteers, including Sydney McKay, Tammy Quiroga, Martha Kelly, Deb Goff, Audrey Dole, Kyle Carey, Robin Kulibert, Jose Santos, and Tavania Padilla. 

The Summer Arts Camp has been operating for the past 15 years. For the last five years, the camp has been free to attend, as it has been underwritten by grants and community donations. 

Along with thanks to everyone who made the camp possible, Farley asked the crowd to continue financial support for the camp and the Creative Arts Association. “We’re back, we’re here. Please support us. We need your help.”

This exhibit is part of a series titled “Art+ History,” a joint project of the Patagonia Museum and the Arts Association. The mission of this project is to highlight local artists, and to increase awareness of local history and the Museum’s offerings. Past exhibits have featured Kayla Simpson’s and Gooch Goodwin’s photography, Martha Kelly’s pottery, and Bob Bergier’s paintings. The series will be continuing in the fall.