This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Castellani Art Museum (CAM) Kids 'n Arts Summer Camp. For two decades, this distinctive camp has been a beacon of creativity and health education. As of last year, a new collaboration with the College of Nursing has further enriched this integration of artistic creativity with physical and mental health education, a partnership we are excited to continue.

Reflecting on the program’s recent developments, CAM’s director, Ellen Owens states, "Niagara University has consistently supported the creative growth of our youth and harnessed the transformative power of art. Our recent partnership with the College of Nursing has been pivotal in demonstrating how the arts contribute to education, and emotional and mental well-being, enhancing skills such as observation, fine hand skills, and communication."

The camp has traditionally empowered children aged 5-12 to delve into their self-identity and personal wellness through art. Each year, these young artists have expressed their emotions and experiences through their artworks. Following a cherished tradition, with consent from students and their parents, selected artworks are professionally framed and displayed in the lobby of Dunleavy, home to the College of Nursing. Each piece includes a descriptive label that provides insights into the project and the perspectives of our young artists about issues of personal identity, caring relationships, and our surrounding environment.

This semi-permanent exhibition not only showcases the importance of artistic expression in nurturing healthy, informed communities but also aligns with the nursing school's commitment to advancing awareness of health, happiness, and life choices among students.

"Our daughter Eleanor adored CAM's Kids 'n Art Summer Camp more than any other camp or activity she has ever attended. She cherished her time with the camp counselors and eagerly anticipated each day, excited to reunite with friends and discover the day's enjoyable activities. This camp offers a truly enriching experience that nurtures the whole child. It provides diverse, hands-on opportunities in various artistic mediums, including performing arts, and fosters an appreciation of art history. Importantly, CAM Summer Camp nurtures aspects of childhood often neglected during the busy school year, such as their thirst for creativity and self-expression," says Laura Debacco, Youngstown, N.Y., local and mother to Eleanor, aged 9. 

The College of Nursing and the Castellani Art Museum continue to welcome the community to view this inspiring display at Dunleavy on the NU campus, available to the public on the first floor.

Looking forward, the Kids 'n Arts Camp is excited for its 2024 season, running from July 8 to Aug. 9, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration for CAM members began on April 1, and registration for the general public is now open. We eagerly anticipate another summer filled with artistic exploration and personal development for children aged 5-12. Says camp director Alex Filips, “Kids ‘n Arts Camp provides a unique experience for campers combining theater and art integrated within phenomenal museum galleries. Campers are able to explore many creative disciplines and experience learning while having fun… this is truly a great experience for any kid who is looking to explore their creativity!”

“CAM Summer Camp is AMAZING! Making every picture and artwork a story, a memory that lasts a lifetime. As a parent, I love that my children unplug from the technology world, explore, and grow over the summer with the CAM! Don't miss out on this wonderful experience for your children,” says Stephanie Bevacqua, mother of two campers, aged 7 and 9, who have attended camp the last two years.

For more details about the camp and to register, please visit our website at CastellaniArtMuseum.org. Join us as we celebrate 20 years of creative and wellness education at the Kids 'n Arts Summer Camp.