In Photos: 2018 ExploreAsia Summer Camps

HOUSTON, August 13, 2018 — Asia Society Texas Center's sixth year of Explore Asia: Culture Camps for Kids welcomed 98 campers across six week-long sessions covering video game design, Japanese manga (comics), classical Asian forms of storytelling, superhero lore, shadow puppetry, and Asian cuisine.

From June through August, campers were immersed in a rich diversity of experiences that highlighted the diverse cultures of Asia and how these cultures have contributed to our global society. Each week culminated in fun, final presentations that showed the breadth and depth of all that the campers had learned.

The 2018 camp season opened with Video Game Maker with Writers in the Schools (WITS) DigitalKathryn Peterson from Writers in the Schools led campers in writing and creating their own stories, while learning about traditional stories and tradition from Asia. Campers then learned how to tell stories through the medium of video games and transferred their written works to the world of games, thinking about how avatars, text boxes, challenges, and conflicts can make for fun, engaging games. At the closing Game Jam, they presented their finished stories and 33 video games.

Working with our instructors Vinh Ngo and Thomas Tran at our Manga Pop! camp session, campers studied how manga comics are created, learned how to draw and create characters, and crafted stories for finished comics. Throughout the week, these incredible young artists created their own manga-style comic that they displayed at a camp ComicCon on Friday, telling 25 stories ranging from the realistic "The Great Wall" to the fantasy of "Puppy Planet."

Our Storytelling Traditions campers took to the stage at the Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater for an ambitious exploration of a classic story from The Mahabharata. After spending the week learning the classical art forms of acting and storytelling, Indian dance, Japanese Taiko, and Chinese music, these 14 performers collaborated to tell the tale of classic hero Abhimanu. The camp was led by Silambam Houston, with help from Shunya TheatreKaminari Taiko, and North American Youth Chinese Orchestra (NAYCO).

Superheroes of Asia camp instructor Vehishta Kaikobad led campers through the thrilling stories of Gilgamesh, the Monkey King, the Crane Princess, the Ramayana, and Shahnameh, as well as the cultural traditions surrounding them. Each day, campers created art projects tied to the stories, such as Hokusai-style wave paintings for the Crane Princess and clay ziggurats for Gilgamesh. On the final day, campers performed original plays that re-told the stories from their point of view, including an action-packed Monkey King and a shadow puppet version of the Shahnameh.

Campers took to the stage with 50 hand-crafted shadow puppets in a performance of six short stories at the Shadow Puppetry camp. Conducted by puppet artist Tom Lee, the campers worked together in small groups to create their own original stories, developing the plot and writing the dialog, as well as designing and creating each of the puppet characters. Campers also learned about shadow puppet traditions from around the world, constructing the backgrounds and props to use in presenting their creations at the end of the week to an audience of friends and family.

Finally, each day at Amazing Asian Eats focused on one or two Asian counties and their foods, including China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. Campers made mango lassis, Indian trail mix, kimchi, sushi rolls, dumplings, and Vietnamese spring rolls; taste-tested fruits and rices from across the continent; and learned to identify various spices used in Indian cuisine. On the final day, campers created an amazing street market, featuring a mango stand and their original food outlets: Panda Cat Café, Namaste Café, Chubby Panda, and Japan Good Goods.

Parents' comments included:

"My daughter really liked the stories she heard about various superheroes and shared them with us at home. ... The performances were awesome too."

"They had a great time the entire week."

"My kids were very happy all week; every day for them was so much fun."

View some of the campers' work below:


View the Amazing Asian Eats food blog!


ExploreAsia 2018
ExploreAsia 2018
ExploreAsia 2018

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