Beating the Buddha seemed the order of the day as groups of five to eight young people shoveled and shaped sand on the beach at Myrtle Beach State Park Wednesday evening.
The 68 kids were all young artists taking part in the annual sand sculpture show, part of the visual arts sessions of the Summer Arts Academy. The arts camp is held at Coastal Carolina University each June for rising seventh- to 12th graders who seek intensive study in music, the visual arts or performing arts.
Last year’s sculpture winner, the Buddha, set a standard that some returning campers were eager to top.
“Some of us are on different teams this year, but we want to defend our title,” said Lexi Lutsky, a rising junior from Carolina Forest High School who will be attending the Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology.
Lutsky’s team was working on a panda bear, while others tackled the likes of Mickey Mouse, Yoshi and assorted creatures. Holes were dug, and sand was molded into shapes that would eventually be sprayed with biodegradable paint.
Alexis Michalos and her teammates, all rising 11th graders, also were seeking to best the Buddha with their sculpture of a sleeping dragon. While Tindall Ouverson sat pushing sand with her feet, the others – Michalos, Brittany Clark, Katherine Edmonds, Jennie Kim and Caroline Silverman – took turns shoveling the moist mud. Four of the girls attend Horry County Schools’ Scholars Academy, with Kim from Carolina Forest High School and Silverman from AAST.
“We were thinking of a leviathan,” Michalos said. “It’s moundish and easier to pile.”
CCU designed the summer arts camp to support artistic gifted-and-talented programs, said Bert Owen, HCS’ learning specialist for fine arts. Students stay on campus and take part in all types of learning, from private lessons to group master classes, and each session culminates with a show, which is open to the public.
While students from other areas participate in the camp, Owen said the residential aspect allows for students from all nine of Horry County’s attendance areas to participate without worrying about daily transportation. Fees for the different programs range from $495 to $825, including lodging and meals, however, district students are given the opportunity to earn full scholarships.
Owen said Horry students who qualify for the all-county band, orchestra or chorus already qualify for scholarships, but there is an intense audition process held in early spring for other students who want to earn their way. Owen said the district actively seeks gifted artists for the program, and teachers are a source of recommendations, since those students usually are taking advanced arts classes. Students can self-nominate, however, and information goes on the district website and the fine arts Facebook page to inform parents as well.
The process begins in February with Saturday workshops so that students can get familiarized with what will be required. Owen said students are told what will be in the audition, held the first weekend in March, so that artists can start their portfolios, and performers can work on the required skills.
“We have a real high success rate,” Owen said. “The gifted get their teeth into it, and the intensity level gets up there. It’s a fascinating program to walk through, and when you treat them as gifted and talented, they usually rise to the occasion.”
Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.