What’s Growing at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens – Art in the Garden

What’s Growing at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens – Art in the Garden

By Melanie Priesnitz Conservation Horticulturist

For the past 11 years the Gardens have been graced with young artists for two weeks each summer during the Uncommon Common Art (UCA) Summer Camp. Art in the Garden campers spend their days exploring the garden and forest, playing games outside, and finding inspiration for their art in the natural world.

We love the energy and life that the young people bring to the garden and they love having the garden as their playground. The camp is run by UCA’s Creative Director Terry Drahos, giving the kids a wonderful opportunity to learn and play with a professional artist. The kids are introduced to a wide range of artistic styles and artists such as Monet, Picasso, and Georgia O’Keeffe. When asked who their favourite artist was 10 year-old Sophia was eager to respond, “Terry Drahos is my favourite artist”. Impressive when you’re up against the likes of Picasso!

When asked what they love the most about creating art, the kids collectively said, “we like to do art because it’s fun!” Sadie who is 8 told us that she “likes going to this camp because the gardens are so pretty”. Hadley who is also 8, told us that she likes the camp “because we do lots of art and I’m into art!” 8-year-old David wanted to be quoted as saying “I’m all out of yellow”. Apparently this is the quote of the week as the campers who mix their own paints using primary colours are always running out of yellow paint! Terry explained that this is because everything in the garden is so green and yellow and blue make green. 10-year-old Ian told us that he “likes art and nature so this camp is a great combination of those things”.

The kids took a long hike one afternoon to scour the forest for fallen materials that they could turn into stencils. This hike was one of the highlights for camp assistant Isabel Johnston. Isabel is a grade 11 student who attended camp in 2012 and 2013, and she is enjoying helping campers with the same activities that she did as a camper. Isabel is interested in the field of Biology so being introduced to the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre and Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens at such a young age has been a great experience for her. The original campers of 11 years ago when the camp began are now at University, some of them at Acadia.

There are a few spaces left in the camp running August 7-11, so if you want to give your kids a chance to play outside while learning about art and the environment, sign them up today! Camp is for kids aged 7-12, and the cost is $215, which includes all art supplies. uncommoncommonart.com/summer-camp.html

Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens
Acadia University
Photo Caption: Art in the Garden campers visiting Miyoshi Kondo’s UCA installation on Acadia’s Woodland Trails