Summer camp aims to expose children to art


BENNINGTON -- With a $1,600 grant from a local college, 10 kids will get to watch and learn from several local artists this summer.

The Kids Arts and Music Program (KAMP) is being run by the Center for Restorative Justice at 439 Main St.

CRJ Executive Director Leitha Cipriano said the grant was awarded by Southern Vermont College through its Philanthropy Program. Students from the college work to vet local programs for grant money and CRJ was chosen as one of the three to receive funds.

The KAMP program involves a local artist meeting with children ages 13 to 17 at the CRJ after school room every Monday starting July 7 and running through Aug. 11. Cipriano said the sessions run from 1 to 4 p.m., with the first half being the artist putting on a demonstration and the other being the kids getting to try their hand at it.

KAMP is aimed at youth who might not otherwise have a chance to be exposed to a type of artwork, be it music, painting, or puppeteering.

"Through this opportunity, youth will develop interests and skills that may positively influence their future ambitions," she said in a release.

Local artists who have confirmed their participation are: Bill Brown, a painter, Melanie Hickey, a puppeteer, Barry Hyman, a steel guitarist, Deena Chapel, a singer/songwriter and guitarist, and Daniel Maclean, a drummer.

Cipriano said two other artists have expressed interests but not confirmed they will be involved yet. Also, the college has two interns working to help with the summer camp.

The program fits nicely with CRJ's mission. The group is a non-profit that has existed for 30 years in Bennington working with young and first-time criminal offenders, and those who have been released from prison, to reintegrate them into the community. Cipriano said part of that work is trying to make sure a person does not get into trouble to start with. KAMP is open to anyone within the specified age group, she said, and the hope is those who participate will discover a talent or passion they were not aware of and pursue it.

To register, she said, call CRJ at 802-447-1595.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.


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