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‘Vibrancy of Place’: Steamboat Creates offers youth summer creativity camps

Enrollment slots still open for art, cultural learning programs

John Camponeschi
Steamboat Pilot & Today
A Young At Art student poses with some of their artistic creations.
Kim Keith/Courtesy photo

As school ends, parents might be wondering how to keep their children’s minds healthy and active during summer. 

One good way would be to enter Steamboat Creates’ Young At Art Creativity Camps.

Executive Director Kim Keith has worked with Steamboat Creates since 2013. Her history with nonprofit organizations throughout the nation sprung from a love of “making the world a better place” through art and creativity. Since her arrival, Young At Art has grown from 96 students in 2013 to 520 students in 2023.



The program started in 1988 at The Depot Art Center. 

Keith works alongside Thea Wigglesworth, who manages programming at Steamboat Creates. The duo has labored to ensure that young people have access to creative art and cultural exposure camps during the summer months. 



The camps are held in morning and afternoon sessions both indoors and out. Students also venture into the community to work at professional art studios, the Tread of Pioneers Museum, the Botanic Park and other locations. 

For 2024, the program is hosting 40 camps, with half of them being new offerings. 

Wigglesworth said the goal of Young At Art is to “educate and expose young people to all of the artistic mediums which Steamboat Creates represents.” Those mediums include performing arts, visual arts, heritage and culture, design, film, media and literary arts. Self-expression, creative problem solving and collaboration are all cornerstones of the different camps that are offered.

“We also focus on comprehensive health standards surrounding empathy and understanding human emotion through an artistic lens,” Wigglesworth said.

Many of the camp’s instructors, all of whom live in either Routt or Moffat County, already work with youth in school settings. Additionally, volunteers play a key role in programming and operations. Young At Art also offers opportunities for young adults over the age of 15 to be assistants as well.

Camps begin June 3 and conclude on Aug. 9. Morning sessions run from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and afternoon camps begin at 1 p.m. and conclude at 4:30 p.m. Materials are provided by Steamboat Creates, though some specialized camps do have a small fee to cover additional materials. 

The organization is committed to affordability for families who enroll their children in the camps. Scholarships are available, though many have already been awarded for 2024. 

Popular programs include “Mad Science,” where students explore the interface between science and art. Highlights include students making slime and racing cars on a student-designed track in the Steamboat Creates parking lot.

Creativity and creating art with friends are cornerstones of Steamboat Creates’ summer camps for children.
girls

Culture Camps, created in collaboration with Tread of Pioneers museum, are a new arrival in the 2024 Young At Art lineup. This year’s offerings are “Pioneer Life,” “The Ute Indians and Indigenous Peoples of Colorado,” and a camp featuring art and cultural explorations of Ancient Egypt. 

Slots are still available for the Culture Camps, as well as many of the other programs that Steamboat Creates is offering.

Young At Art supports the Yampa Valley art community by attracting and retaining a creative workforce.

“Having artists live and work in this community will increase the vibrancy of place,” Keith said. “Providing young people with an introduction to artists and teachers that have a real love and a passion for creativity will set the stage and form a foundation for them to have art in their lives forever.”

As the leader of the area’s creative district, Steamboat Creates must represent many different forms of art in order to meet certification requirements.

“We have a unique opportunity to not only represent each of the art forms but also provide a space in this historic depot for cross-pollination,” Keith said. “There’s this wonderful synergy that starts to happen in this building and in the community with creative expression having blurred boundaries of discipline.”

More information on the Young At Art Creativity Camps can be found on Steamboat Creates website at SteamboatCreates.org/yaa/.


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