ArtWorth was conceived in the late fall of 2005 when a small group of parents, grandparents and artists met at the Warkworth Heritage Centre to discuss delivering a summer arts day camp for the children of Trent Hills. A guiding principle was to offer children the opportunity to grow and express themselves through the arts facilitated by professional artists based in the Trent Hills community.
In early 2006 a working Steering Committee was formed and within a few months programming for two one week camps was developed and offered to the community. The response from parents and children was immediate and both camps were quickly fully subscribed. ArtWorth Trent Hills Children’s Art Camp has become a much anticipated annual feature of summer for the children and parents of this community.
In the first few years, camps were based at the Warkworth Town Hall Centre for the Performing Arts, while several other venues in town were occasionally used. For the past eleven years, the Gathering Place at St. Paul’s United Church has been the permanent home of ArtWorth. An important aspect of ArtWorth is to integrate the children’s art activities to village life by using public spaces for the creation of art or performance. This might include painted mural making in the Mews or drumming performance on Main St. or a visit to the residents of the nursing home to complete a food art project.
Over the course of ArtWorth’s program history children have had the opportunity to make pottery, experience wood turning, carve soap stone, make paper and felt art, make kites, silk screen fabric, make food art, create songs, skits, dance shows and short movies, interview their elders, learn drumming, paint murals, make ‘small village’ creations still seen in the gardens outside the Warkworth library and at the Warkworth Manor.
Full and partial day field trips have included a visit to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Alderville First Nations, and Lang Pioneer Village as well as visiting the studios of several local artists. Last summer the children spent a day at Westben Centre getting a behind the scenes tour, workshopping with some of the performers and taking in a live musical show in the afternoon.
A key objective of the camp is to have local artists mentor the children, and over our 12 year history several dozen artists have worked with the campers. Many of these artists have participated multiple times. One artist in particular deserves special mention. Monica Johnston at Frantic Farms Clay and Glass Gallery was a founding member of ArtWorth, served on the Steering Committee for many years and has taught pottery every year since the camps inception. We are indebted to Monica’s artistic leadership.
Early on, the ArtWorth Steer committee recognized that if the ArtWorth program was to be made available to all the youth of Trent Hills a bursary program would have to be put in place to assist some residents. For the past 10 years, approximately 6 to 8 partial or fully bursaries have been provided to local children each year .
The funds for these bursaries have come from a variety of sources; ArtWorth sponsored fundraisers, private donations, and the support of several community organizations such as the Warkworth 50+ Club, the Ruth Stephens Memorial Bursary and the Eastern Star organization. It is these partnerships that show that our community is thriving and caring.
If you would like to make a donation to the ArtWorth Bursary Fund, please click here.
ArtWorth is a non-profit that generates much of its annual budget from registration fees. However, we could never have continued to deliver the programming we do without a number of significant and long term community partnerships.
We are very grateful to St. Paul’s United Church for its ongoing support and commitment to the children of Trent Hills. We are also grateful to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church for allowing us to use their basement facility for our physical theatre classes.
Ongoing financial support comes from The Warkworth Community Service Club and Spirit of the Hills Northumberland Hills Arts Association. For the past several years, The General on Main has generously supplied the camp t-shirts for all participants.
The Campbellford Seymour Community Foundation has been generously providing funding for the salary of the Assistant Camp Coordinator through its youth Job Opportunity Fund. The Board and staff of Westben Centre for Connectivity and Creativity have acted as ArtWorth’s liaison with the Foundation.