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Brothers in Arms at CMA Summer Camp

June 20, 2016

Brothers in Arms perfectly describes the campers in this year's Art and Armor summer camp. Kids from ages 8-12 years gathered each afternoon to beat the summer heat and create armor with interesting materials. As their instructor, I was impressed by the amount of creativity and ingenuity they brought to each project. On Monday, we explored the galleries, looking for examples of armored warriors, knights, and soldiers throughout the CMA’s collection. The boys truly surprised me with their enthusiasm as we talked about St. George slaying the dragon and Achilles and Ajax fighting in the Trojan War. They shared their knowledge of swords, shields, and helmets. Using items like cardboard and duct tape, they fashioned armor based on ancient civilizations and medieval knights. We discussed the tools and weapons of a Japanese samurai, and I had the campers craft Japanese war fans. 

What brought me the most pride was seeing how they embraced designing banners for the battlefield. One camper meticulously drew a dragon flying out of flames. After all their hard work, I promised everyone we would make functional light sabers on Friday. The delight on their faces when they saw the sabers glow was such an amazing feeling. 

This camp was a passion for me. This year I was able to design it, and it brought me so much joy to see the kids have such a fun time. One of them told me, “I’m really going to miss this camp. It was my favorite.” As the last camper was walking out to join his mother, she leaned over and told me, “He had so much fun this week. Every night he wanted to create whatever he could out of cardboard and duct tape.” Moments like this remind me—this is why I do what I do.

Kayleigh Vaughn 
Manager of Education