Creating art in the open air

Minh Best 6, paints an outdoor scene using watercolor paint on Tuesday during an Owensboro Museum of Fine Art’s free art camp in Ryan Park.

Minh Best likes painting unicorns, but on Tuesday, she was working on an outdoor scene in Ryan Park.

The 6-year-old is one of 240 kids participating in the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art’s free art camps this summer. Minh was practicing her “en plein air” — or painting out of doors — skills as part of the museum’s In the Open Air camp.

Sarah Best, Minh’s mother, said her daughter has been painting since she was 3. She enjoys painting, and Best said she was glad Minh was old enough this year to participate in the OMFA camp.

Minh also participates in a camp called Camp No Limits, which is for individuals with limb loss.

Best and her husband try to cultivate the arts at home, but Best said it’s important for Minh to hear from real artists, which is what the OMFA art camp provides.

Professional artists typically assist the museum with their art camps.

“That’s one of the main reasons we wanted her to come so she could grow her knowledge of art beyond what I can teach her at home,” Best said. “Plus we love to support our community, so any time we can get out in the community and interact is exciting.”

The OMFA art camps are particularly special because they are free for participants, thanks to a sponsorship by the Owensboro Grain Company. The camps also reserve half of their registration for kids from social services agencies, according to OMFA Assistant Director and Development Officer Jason Hayden.

OMFA offers a series of free art camps throughout the year, with morning classes being reserved for kids 6-10, and afternoon classes for kids 11-15.

“Every year we try to gear the camps toward other programs and events happening at the museum,” Hayden said.

The In the Open Air camp is similar to the September OMFA event, Buffalo Paint Out, in which artists from the region come to Owensboro to paint scenes en plein air.

Campers also have an opportunity to tour the museum’s galleries.

Art camps are important, Hayden said, because they teach kids about the visual arts, which teaches them creativity.

“Creativity is essential for all learning,” Hayden said. “Through this camp, we have an opportunity to teach kids who normally wouldn’t have access to this level of visual arts education.”

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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