Category Archives: Young Masters

Happy Campers

What is summer without summer camp? Did you know the first summer camps in the US originated in the 1860s? Then and now, summer camps present themselves as an escape from our every day life and as an opportunity to have fun while learning something new.

Gunnery Camp,1861, the first organized American summer camp. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

While traditional summer camp was presented as a way to build character in the “great outdoors,” at The Sid, we like to develop knowledge and skills in our gallery and studio.

SRM Children’s Summer Camp 2018

Why is art good for your child? For one, looking at art helps kids learn how to analyze and synthesize information. Also, making art is more than painting pretty pictures; it involves math, science and experimentation. Additionally, children who feel free to experiment often feel free to find new ways of thinking, both inside and outside the art studio.

Above all, when kids feel good while they are creating art, which helps boost self-confidence. And who doesn’t want more happy kids?

So what kind of activities did our summer campers at The Sid get to explore? See for yourself!

Learning a new way to make sculptures by using molds!

Painting plaster cast sculptures

Painted hand casts.

Learning different ways to make sculpture.

Posing for cowboy portraits.

Cowboy portraits completed.

Learning how to make sunsets using color gradation.

Cowboy sunsets and animal portraits.

Lions and Tigers and Bears – Oh My!

*Well, maybe more like antelope, bears, horses, and cattle. This year’s Summer Camp theme was Animals in the West!

This summer we hosted two weeks of Summer Camps: one for children between the ages of 6-9 years old and the other for tweens – children between the ages of 10-12 years old. What fun we had exploring the animals found within our collection and learning about other native animals of the West!

Each day campers began with a still life warm up to get their creative juices flowing. Campers then spent time with our collection participating in gallery activities and various animal themed tours with our talented docent team. Students asked themselves questions like, “What would the skunk say?” and asked our docents questions like, “How did he get that big bronze statue to stay glued together?!”

Following their time in the gallery, campers spent time in the studio art room creating their own masterpieces. Throughout the week our young artists worked with air dry clay, acrylic paints on canvas, watercolors, permanent markers, chalk pastels, colored pencils, and printmaking materials.

On the final day of each week-long camp, campers went through our Junior Docent Training….basically a crash course for kids, teaching them how to lead a tour for their friends and families. At the end of the last day, campers hosted their very own ART SHOW! Campers proudly took to their role as Junior Docents and led their friends and family on a tour of our galleries and then to the studio art room. While showing off their artworks they spent all week creating, campers enjoyed some Art Show refreshments. Bear cupcakes and animal cookies seemed totally appropriate!

What a delight it was to have each and every child participate in our Summer Art Camps! Campers impressed us with their creative thinking, intriguing questions, and unbelievable talent. Thank you to all of our campers and their families, our Summer Art Camp Intern (Aaron McBride), and our Docent Team! You brought the animals in our collection to life. We hope to see you again next summer!

*Written by Andrea Hassenteuffel, Director of School & Family Programs

Summer at the Sid

School’s out, summer is in, let the drama stop and the ART begin!Campers3

What a wonderful time we have had with our Summer Art Camps! This year we hosted two, week-long camps: one for children between the ages of 6-9 years old and the other for tweens (10-13 years old). This year’s theme was Traveling Through the West!Campers1Campers2

Each day, camp began with a sketchbook warm-up to help jump-start their creativity. Campers spent time each day in the gallery looking at artworks from our permanent collection with the help of our docents. They also spent time in the studio daily creating their own works of art. Campers created several projects in the studio: air-dry clay pots/vases, acrylic painted landscapes, watercolor wildflowers, weavings, designing a brand and decorating a bandana, chalk pastel portraits and animal portraits. They were challenged to look closer, draw bigger, and explore their ideas and subjects!Campers 5Campers 6Campers 7

Students also learned about what life was like in the West, who they might have seen, what they might have heard and saw, and discussed how they might have felt if they had traveled West. Campers spent time considering many perspectives of the West: the artist, the settler, the American Indian, the cowboy, and even the Pony Express Rider. These perspectives were explored through story-telling, reading, gallery activities and games, looking exercises, and dialog with our team and their peers. Our campers were so eager to learn and were a delight to have with us this summer!Campers 4

Each camp finished with an art show. Campers invited their families and friends to join us at the Museum to take a tour and celebrate their artwork created at camp! Campers even went through some “junior” docent training so that they could facilitate the tour for their visitors. At the end of the art show campers were able to collect their artworks, but not before enjoying some delicious goodies…what would a kids’ art show be without cupcakes and cookies?!Campers 9art showCampers 8

We are already in anticipation for next summer! Thank you campers for joining us! It was fun learning and creating together!


Andrea Hassenteuffel, Director of School & Family Programs

Colors of the West

“If you will permit me to observe, I will say I think the lighting in your studio is too cold. I have found the same trouble and two years ago I painted or stained both my studio here and my summer one a rich red which had the effect of warming up my paint immediately. Why don’t you try it?” – A letter from Frederic Remington to wildlife painter Carl Rungius

Last week the museum hosted its annual Spring Break workshops for both children and tweens. During their visit, the students explored color theory and how color influences mood and story in artwork.IMG_5569Color theory

In the galleries, docents led the children on a journey through the West, observing how artists like Frederic Remington and George Catlin, who both went West in the 1800s, captured the great American frontier in paint. The students observed how the color of a composition can drastically change the tone and feeling of painting, whether it be the use of warm colors to portray a sweltering, hot desert or the application of cool colors to illustrate a nocturnal scene.Gallery 1Gallery 2

Back in the studio, after practicing color theories, each young artist had the opportunity to apply their newly-acquired knowledge by creating their own canvas painting.Studio 1Studio 2

Encore: Artist as Recorder

Back by popular demand, the museum hosted an encore children’s workshop focusing on the artist’s role as recorder.

Like traveling American artists in the 19th century, the kids had to carry their sketching supplies with them throughout the galleries. On our art adventure, each young artist received a canvas bag that they customized and decorated.IMG_5449IMG_5451

With their notes and sketches freshly drawn, the young traveling artists journeyed into the studio classroom where they brought their drawings to life with paint and canvas.Artist as recorder encoreIMG_5463artist as recorder artists

Museum Reflections

As 2014 comes to a close, we take this time to reflect on the past year. Hosting two special exhibitions and several public programs, the museum reached a large a diverse group of people. We welcomed over 40,000 visitors this year!

In addition, through our school tour programs, the education department shared our collection and exhibitions with nearly 3,500 students. Besides a docent-guided tour through the galleries, the students get to experience hands-on activities in the studio, which allow them a way to relate their personal response to the collection with their own artistic experience. Art activities can range from printmaking and painting to weaving and metal tooling.

Based on their responses, it’s safe to say the kids enjoyed their museum visit. But don’t take my word for it.img-141218153852-0001img-141218161459-0001img-141218161439-0001img-141218161518-0001img-141218153835-0001

Artist as Recorder

Over the weekend, in celebration of the art museum’s new exhibition, Take Two: George Catlin Revisits the West, we hosted a children’s workshop. Through sketching and painting activities, participants spent time considering George Catlin’s role as recorder before mass photography, documenting the great American West during his travels in the 1830s.

While in the galleries, docents discussed traveling artists in the 1800s and how the act of documenting what they saw contributes to our American History today.Artist as Recorder 1

After learning about Catlin, everyone received a canvas travel backpack and sketching supplies and undertook the role of recorder as they traveled the gallery to document with their new art tools what they had seen and learned. artist as recorder 2

The adventure continued in the studio classroom where participants created their very own scene in paint inspired by the collection and their sketches. In addition to their sketching supplies, each student received a take-home painting kit complete with brushes, acrylic paint, and painting paper.artist as recorder 3

Sister Cities

This week we had a visit from a group of high school students from Nagaoka, Japan. Here at the Sid Richardson Museum, we’re excited to give these students an opportunity to learn and be creative.

As part of the Fort Worth Sister Cities program, these young scholars toured various cultural institutions around the city, and the Sid was lucky enough to be included. I had a chance to talk with a representative from Fort Worth Sister Cities International to learn more about the program.IMG_4333

What is Sister Cities?

Sister Cities is an international organization that facilitates peace and prosperity around the world. Fort Worth has 8 sister cities, located in Japan, China, Germany, Swaziland, Italy, Indonesia, Mexico and Hungary. The students coming to Sid Richardson are part of an exchange we have been participating in for many years with Nagaoka, our Japanese sister city. This exchange is called the Harashin Scholarship Program, and has been generously funded by the Hara family. The program shares the name of the Hara family’s company, Harashin Co., which is a chain of supermarkets in Japan.

What is the goal of this program?

The exchange is intended to promote education and cultural sharing between the Japanese and Fort Worth students. It is also intended for the students to reach out to the community. For example, while the students are here, they will be volunteering at Teen Times at the FW Central Library.

What other activities are planned for these students?

We are so excited! Their week in town is full of events. They will attend a rodeo, take many tours including the George Bush Presidential Library and the JFK 6th Floor Museum, TCU campus, the Log Cabin Village, Bass Hall, the stockyards, and AT&T Stadium, and will be carrying the Japanese flag onto the field for Japan-America friendship night at the Rangers Ballpark.

Why did you choose to include the Sid Richardson Museum?

We included a tour of the Sid Richardson Museum because we feel that by visiting your establishment, our scholars will become more informed about the history and culture of our wonderful city, as well as be fascinated by the lovely art that is featured.IMG_4341

Sister City CollageIMG_4380

Visit the Fort Worth Sister Cities website to learn more about the program.

The Luckless Hunter

Yesterday the museum hosted our final Art of Story workshop of the summer. The museum houses a wealth of narrative imagery in our collection. During these workshops, the kids explore elements shared by narrative images and the stories they inspire. Another favorite story is one inspired by Remington’s painting The Luckless Hunter.

Frederic Remington, The Luckless Hunter, 1909, Oil on canvas, 26 7/8 x 28 7/8 inches

Frederic Remington, The Luckless Hunter, 1909, Oil on canvas, 26 7/8 x 28 7/8 inches

There once was a man who went out on a hunt. His family was hungry and desperate for food. He hunted alone – not the way of hunters. He made camp near the place of the tall trees. He slept fitfully and awoke in the night to the sound of wailing. A ghost appeared before him, hovering in a long, white deerskin dress; white moccasins; and with long, white hair floating around her head. The ghost groaned and wailed in the voices of the hunter’s woman and his children. Another ghost appeared, dressed as a man mourning for one who had died in disgrace. The hunter ran. He left behind his arrows, bows, and spear heads. He ran into the darkness.

As he fled, he ran headlong into another ghost. This was an older woman resembling his mother, and she was floating high in the air. She was dressed in white and cried white tears which fell down on top of him like snow. Her white hair blew around her as her form floated to the hunter. He fell to his knees, keeping his head down. The white ghost woman floated over him crying. The hunter did not move.

A howl filled the air. The white woman ghost shattered with the sound. The howl grew louder and louder. A man approached the hunter and then spoke to him. The hunter could not understand what the man was telling him. He watched the feet of the man walking around him as the man spoke. The feet moved round and round and round and round the hunter. The man spoke harshly, and the hunter closed his eyes. When he opened them, a wolf was pacing round and round and round and round him.

The night air was still, and Brother Moon was only half-way across the sky. The hunter had disobeyed the rules of his people. Ghosts were sent to kill him. The wolf lifted his jowls and grabbed the hunter’s belt with his sharp, white teeth. The wolf growled, tugging on the belt, and the hunter stood and followed. The wolf let out a yelp. The hunter followed the wolf to another camp.

There were hunters from another tribe, and they needed another hunter. The wolf pulled the hunter to the ground and moved into the clearing near the others. As the wolf walked to the fire, his shape turned into that of a man. The man spoke with the others. They listened and nodded, smiling. The man turned and beckoned the hunter to enter the clearing and meet the others, which he did. As the hunters talked, the strange man stepped back into the forest. He returned to the shape of a wolf.

The wolf lifted his head and howled, disappearing in the night. The hunter was adopted into this group and was treated well. He became the best hunter of them all, and he never hunted alone. Whenever he returned from the hunt, he would leave meat outside the camp. In the morning the meat was gone, and there were only the paw prints of one lone wolf.

From White Wolf Woman and Other Native American Transformation Myths by Teresa Pijoan

The Great American West Adventure

It’s that time of year – summer camp! Our American West Adventure Summer Camp introduces children to the time period known as the Great American West. Each day is themed around a different subject matter represented in the museum’s collection consisting of Native Americans, explorers and pioneers, cowboy culture, and artists, such as Charles M. Russell and Frederic Remington, who forever captured the essence of life in the 19th century America. Offering a 5-day camp provides students the chance to explore these themes in a deeper, more meaningful way than they might in a typical 45 minute school tour.IMG_3683

Each day of camp features a balance of gallery tours, sketching from the collection, and art-making activities that allow campers to learn about and make their own responses the collection. A few activities we have planned include:

  • oil pastel landscapes based on a painting from the collection
  • designing a cowboy hat band with Conchos
  • metal tooling
  • painting
  • rattle making
  • creating a personal brand design just like a real cowboy


Whenever possible we try to use authentic art making materials and tools, such as acrylic paints and stretched canvas, to give our visitors a sense of what Remington, Russell, and today’s professional artist use to create art. One of our goals is to expose children to materials they might not have access to in school or at home. At the end of camp, each camper gets to take home a kit of paints, brushes, and paper along with their sketchbook and artwork to continue the imagination process at home.IMG_3855

Overall, we hope that students walk away with a greater appreciation for art of the American West and an understanding of the communities that helped shape this adventurous time period. Our visitor-driven approach aims to impart students with a balance of information, tools, and exploration so that they can make their own personal connections and artistic responses to the museum’s collection. Everyone sees and experiences artwork and art making differently. We try to create an environment that makes children comfortable to learn, feel safe creating ideas, and have fun!