ArtLife, formerly Arts Camp, began in the summer of 2003 as a weekend event with a few Christian artists.
ArtLife Texas is a fine arts camp that began in Buffalo, TX in 2003 in order to see youth ages 12-18 reach their maximum human development not only in the art, but in every area of life. Camp moved to SAGU 5 years ago when we outgrew the facilities at The Abiding Place. ArtLife focuses on art as a form of worshiping Jesus as well as preparing teens and young adults for ministry and missions. The program is an intense week of learning set up like a mini college semester. Attendees choose their track (major). They can choose from Art, Dance, Music, Drama, and now-a newly formed Media Track. Every student attends a two 2-hour session each morning and afternoon in their major plus an additional hour of electives. The classes are taught by professionals who donate their time. Our student to teacher ratio is 1-5. This allows for a high level of personal development on every level.
About Our Tracks
Students in Dance Track are screened the first day of camp so that they can be place in the best and most challenging level for their dance experience. We will once again offer "beginner" dance instruction at camp. These young men and women are passionate about helping others through their art! We have had students travel abroad and teach dance in orphanages in Third World Countries. Their art creates a place for them to share the Love of God as well as continue their own personal growth, development and world view.
Our Drama Track continues to grow and develop in many ways. This year the students will meet on retreat prior to camp and write the play and script for their Friday night performance. The use of the amazing Black Box Theatre at SAGU has allowed us to take these teens to a new level. We offer creative writing, drama, screen play, make up, costume, set design, along with music theatre. It is a blast! Drama allows those who participate to communicate without knowing another language fluently. These students are a part of Community Theatre in and around Ellis County as well as in their church and mission field. They are always a treat to watch.
In Material Arts Track students have the chance to learn about a wide range of mediums including sculpting, spray painting, watercolor, charcoal, henna as well as sketching and more. Each year is different. These students had so much to show for their week of learning. Their art exhibit was top-notch last year. They created a huge masterpiece that was displayed in the entrance of Hagee Hall for our final night.
We have always offered a level of media at ArtLife, but this year in the Media Track we have created a special track for filming, photography, and graphic design. We have seen many of our students use this gift in their schools, churches, and communities. It has become a greater need in our "Sight and Sound" world to photo-document and film both work and ministry related projects. ArtLife puts our students ahead of the game in developing both the eye and skill for such communication.
For students in the Music Track, a typical day is: morning they learn music theory as well as song writing and music arrangement. In the afternoon, they put their learning into action through music practice, collaboration and recording. The students are encouraged to bring their own instruments and explore new instruments at camp. Students have group and one-on-one instruction. They learn from the teacher, the young adult assistants, typically former ArtLife attendees, and their fellow students. ArtLife offers beginner voice, guitar, piano, drums, strings as well advanced lessons for those who are well trained in music. There is the ability to challenge students at every level.
Ministry, Worship, & relationships
In addition to focus in their major, there is chapel time where the students hear God's word in conjunction with a specific topic. There is worship every morning and evening. The evening worship is truly magical as the students lean in to what the Lord has shared with them during the day. It is not uncommon to see shy students singing and it is not uncommon to see the less shy students dancing and praising the Lord with their whole body.
The week of learning culminates on Friday with a performance for friends and family. The students take what they have learned throughout the week and put it on display. This 2 hour program is full of music, dancing, drama, as well as showing film and pictures from the week. Last year, we had an art show throughout the Hagee Communication Center at SAGU. The students displayed their photographs, material art projects, and paintings for all attendees to walk through and look at. The artists stood next to their exhibitions to answer questions for the guests. The previous year, the art students did a live painting on stage with each student painting a part of the masterpiece and bringing them together to form one larger picture at the end - much like the Lord does with our lives.
Many of our students decide on college majors as a result of ArtLife. Many come in thinking that one track is where they will pursue their education and find through our elective program that other areas are better suited for them. They all grow and mature. Human Development and Character training are really the reasons we host ArtLife. It is the "Draw" for teens to come and learn how to grow in wisdom, stature and favor with God and Man. It is a joy to pour into these young people and because of this we have been a very relational camp and have grown a lot of our staff up through ArtLife itself! Because of relationship we have known the needs of the youth that come to us. We have known their families or their pastor or had some connection. Come be a part of a life changing week.