University of Dayton assistant professor Geno Luketic instructs students in the Japanese technique of Raku to create ceramics using a kiln at Project Jericho’s annual Summer Arts Camp on Friday. Photo by Brett Turner

Students gain new skills at Springfield summer arts camp

You can expect a little heat on the first day of summer. Project Jericho upped the temperature to more than 2,000 degrees Friday for the final day of this year’s week-long annual Summer Arts Camp.

That’s the temperature a kiln oven was heated to for the 36 campers, ages 13-18, to create their own ceramic objects using the Japanese technique of Raku under the supervision of University of Dayton assistant professor Geno Luketic.

Project Jericho’s artwork will be on display during a celebration of its work and achievements, noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 25 at the Snyder Park clubhouse. The community is invited to attend and admission is free.

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Other visiting artists came from as far as Colorado to guide the campers in creating acrylic shadow paintings of flowers and botanical drawings and also ceramic flower planters, tying into this year’s theme of homegrown, centered around the Clark State Performing Arts Center and Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center.

“This is why we do what we do,” said Donna Hill, Project Jericho’s Outreach Specialist. “It’s a good way to get artists to do in-depth work with the kids.”

This was David Poe’s fifth and final Summer Arts Camp. He claims to have liked everything about the camp and was proud of his own progress.

“I didn’t think I was very good at drawing but I got better,” said Poe.

The artistic outlet Project Jericho offers was a welcome place for Poe to turn from trouble. The recent graduate plans to study welding at Clark State and credits the staff’s suggestions in getting him there.

He’s even brought his younger brother, Ryan, to the camp and hopes he can stay on a similar path.

“I try to look out for him and be helpful,” said Poe.

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Poe came to the program around the time Hill started and she’s seen his growth as well as her own.

“It’s amazing to see how far he’s come. We’ve tried to bring some consistency, support and mentoring,” she said.

Another ceramic project involved creating something the campers would like to see in Springfield. These ranged from a Ferris wheel and palm tree to an army of cats and a sign reading Chick-fil-A, a plea for the fast-food chain to open here.

This was Luketic’s first time working with a group like this and he’s experienced a lot of what the campers have from an adult perspective.

“I came in curious, wondering how we could accomplish this. The kids dove in and continued to,” he said.

Luketic added he’d be happy to continue working with Project Jericho in the future. Mariah Kaminsky from Durango, Colo. was returning here after supervising Project Jericho’s creation of the “Catching Light” mural two years ago.

Project Jericho Success Coordinator Kristi Limes said during the shadow painting project the campers learned to do layers and to their credit never lost interest in the project and kept attention to detail, a tribute to the artists and the kids’ dedication.

Project Jericho is a program of Clark State Community College supported through funding from Clark County Department of Job and Family Services, the Ohio Arts Council, The Turner Foundation, Clark County Juvenile Court and private contributions.

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