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APSU’s CSA Summer Arts Camp inspires young creatives through ceramics

By: Spencer Castleberry August 28, 2023

Students work on ceramics projects during this year's CSA Summer Arts Camp.
Students work through ceramics projects during this year's CSA Summer Arts Camp.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Community School of the Arts (CSA) at Austin Peay State University (APSU) recently wrapped up its Summer Arts Camp, with attendees getting a crash course in ceramics.   

The CSA Summer Arts Camp is a week-long camp that guides children ages 8-14 through four art disciplines: ceramics, painting, dance and theater. This year’s camp added a third week to accommodate more students and managed to fill up each week, totaling 84 campers.  

Amalia Wills, a graduate of APSU and now a high school art teacher, is the students’ guide to the world of ceramics. She hopes that creativity will always be on the kids' minds. 

"I want them to use the creativity they've been experiencing in their art classes throughout the school year," she said. "I want [the creativity] to show, and I want them to see that there are people who do this for a living and are continuing with the art form." 

A typical day in the ceramics class includes some lessons and then some action. The students learned about the different materials for making clay on a pottery wheel. To the kids' surprise, many of the materials were different colors than what they would turn into.  

After teaching the children about the formulation of clay, Willis started a demonstration. Everyone went to the wheels and watched Wills craft a spherical vase. Then it was the kids' turn. In groups of two, they began attempting to make their pottery. 

"We started by making either a cup, bowl or mug, [as well as] learning how to make pinch pots," Wills said. "The next day, we learned how to make masks. They've learned how to build things using pinching methods." 

The camp attendees learned basic ceramics methods and saw the art form’s many different aspects. 

“We were learning [how to] make the glaze for the pottery, what chemicals you use to make it, and what colors they make," Stella Brennan, a 13-year-old student at Holy Rosary Academy, said. "I've mainly just painted pottery; I have never actually made it. I really like just being able to be creative." 

As the students who attended CSA’s Summer Arts Camp are now back in school, instructors like Wills hope they will take what they have learned and apply it in various aspects of their lives.  

In addition to the Summer Arts Camp, CSA offers a variety of art classes for children and adults, from beginning to advanced levels, in the areas of dance, theatre, music, creative writing and visual art. Fall 1 classes are currently underway, however, registration for Fall 2 class will open on Oct. 2. To learn more about the CSA’s classes and camps, visit www.apsu.edu/csa or email csa@apsu.edu.