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Featured Grant Story: East Side Arts Camp

East Side Arts Camp banner outside of LHUCA

This month's First Friday Art Trail has many things to offer patrons. From art galleries to interactive exhibits to food trucks, the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Art's monthly art trail has a little bit of everything. This month though, LHUCA is excited to welcome 40 budding artists from the East Side Arts Camp.

Students work on creating a costume out of recyclable materials

The East Side Arts Camp is a project of the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts (TCVPA) and the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood and was established in 2015. The camp is a unique arts enrichment program that invites talented East Lubbock students to spend five days as “artists-in-residence” at LHUCA.

Forty students from Alderson, Ervin, Harwell, and Hodges Elementary schools study art, music, theatre, and dance under the tutelage of top-notch instructors from the TCVPA, all under an over-arching theme. This year’s theme is “Earth Love,” designed to promote a love of nature, an appreciation for the environment, and an understanding of sustainable practices. In addition to making work to present at First Friday Art Trail, students also paint a mural at an East Lubbock location, with this year’s piece on display at the Roots Community Revitalization Center.

Pictured above are props made of out recyclable materials, handcrafted by the students for the First Friday Art Trail performance. This year's camp is the first camp to have a cohesive theme for projects and materials throughout the week long camp. Students are able to learn about the practice of "Reduce, reuse, recycle" in the most fun and entertaining way possible.

Students warm up for dance class

According to Arts Coordinator, Jared Strange, one of the best aspects of this year's camp has been the mix of new and returning students. This year's camp was the first time the program was extended to previous attendees. The addition of returning students has been a phenomenal experience. Jared says it's wonderful to know that the young artists have been anticipating returning to camp ever since they left.

One student models her recycled costume

Two of the students from the first camp back in 2015 returned to this year's camp ready to grow their skills as artists! One returning student made a tie dye shirt for Assistant Meg Davis at a previous camp and was excited to see Meg wearing the shirt at this year's camp, recalling the kind student that made it for her.

Students being instructed on their latest project used recycled materials

The new students also had a fun time and had no problem settling in with the other students. One of the students was so eager to work on her art she made bracelets out of recyclable material and gave them to the staff on her second day of camp. The students are not only honing in on their creative skills, but are also focusing on learning how to be "Heroes." This means following the rules, paying attention, jumping in with both feet, and most importantly, being kind to others and themselves. All of the students take this seriously, whether it be in class, during lunch, or even while cleaning up after working on projects. We can't wait to see the Heroes take the stage at the First Friday Art Trail!

We would also like to give special thanks to the Community Foundation of West Texas for their generous gift to our programs. Their support will be a vital component in our efforts to sustain these programs in the coming years, and we look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration.

- Jared Strange, Arts Coordinator

To learn more about the East Side Arts Camp, please visit the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts online at or on Facebook at To learn more about East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood, please visit them at or on Facebook at

The First Friday Art Trail Presentation - East Side Arts Camp “Show & Tell”- starts at 6:30pm in the Christine DeVitt Icehouse Gallery and is free and open to the public.

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