In Photos: 2022 ExploreAsia Summer Camps
HOUSTON, August 25, 2022 — In Asia Society Texas’ 10th year of ExploreAsia: Culture Camps for Kids, more than 70 campers learned about Asian traditions, culture, and art. Through five week-long sessions, students were inspired by various Asian and Asian American artists, created eco-friendly art, practiced manga-style drawing, analyzed film techniques, and designed their own puppets. Each camp session concluded with a showcase to celebrate the campers’ accomplishments and display the work they created.
We kicked off the camp season with Rising Artists: The Arts and Crafts of Asia. Instructors Phuong Ha and Van Nguyen engaged the students in meaningful discussions about local art, including AST’s earlier exhibition, Making Home: Artists and Immigration, to inspire campers to reflect on who they are as artists as they embarked on art activities such as zine-making and creating sculptures with the support of AST interns Katalina Li-Kroeger and Tina Li. Guest instructor Jayati Sengupta shared different artistic traditions, including Indian ceramic tiles, pottery designs, and more. In addition, students collaborated to develop two thought-provoking murals reflecting themes that they valued. On the last day of camp, students' families and guests visited the Center for an in-depth artist talk and Q&A to learn about the campers’ creative process and view their art in a special exhibition.
During our Environmental Superheroes Camp, instructors Phuong Ha and Van Nguyen along with interns Katalina Li-Kroeger and Tina Li led campers on a journey through the different ecologies of Asia and thoughtful ways to care for the Earth. Throughout the week, students studied environmental science and used recycled materials and natural material found on site in their art projects, which included a rubber band-powered boat made of yogurt containers, leaf printing, hiking sticks, and more. In a special presentation on fossils, guest instructor Dr. David Li-Kroeger brought a series of fossils and preserved creatures, helped the campers create their own clay trilobite, and tied the lesson to AST’s own fossil-studded walls and floors. In the end-of-week superhero-themed showcase, the students shared their knowledge and eco-friendly art.
In our annual Manga POP! Camp, campers worked with instructors Phuong Ha, Van Nguyen, and professional artist Bob Belote, learning about the background and history of manga, Japanese art, and other Asian graphic novels including truyện tranh from Vietnam, manwha from Korea, and more. Each day, students engaged in art and writing exercises to help bring their characters to life by practicing drawing different facial expressions, studying anatomical illustration techniques found in manga, and completing creative writing exercises to develop their own comics. Through presentations on Chinese landscape painting and Japanese woodblock prints, interns Katalina Li-Kroeger and Ashley Gelato helped campers understand historical art influence in modern-day stories. The drawing intensive week concluded with an energetic artist convention featuring the campers’ own comic stories, character stands, and merchandise such as stickers and bookmarks.
Our Mindful Design Animation Camp provided a safe space for campers to contemplate their personal goals and develop short films that demonstrated their values. The instructional team of Phuong Ha, Van Nguyen, Uriel Sandoval, Katalina Li-Kroeger, and Jennifer Kapral collaborated to share the concept of mindfulness, its roots in Buddhism, and how it can play a beneficial role in the creative process; guest instructor Bhakti Salunkhe taught the campers beginner-friendly yoga moves and led them through a restful meditation. Challenged by the instructional team to produce a films paralleling job interview answers while also telling a self-reflecting story, students found inspiration for their films and practiced intentionality by setting daily goals. In addition, students learned about the importance of camera shots and lighting from AST's production manager Alauna Rubin. Taking different approaches to their films, some students collaborated to film themselves throughout the building, while others used stop-motion techniques. The week concluded with a film festival featuring a diverse line-up of short videos.
Our last camp of the summer, Puppetry of Asia, took the campers on a dynamic theatrical journey. Instructors Vehishta Kaikobad, Phuong Ha, and Rayén Torres shared puppetry traditions and performing arts from Indonesia, Vietnam, China, and Japan, and guest storyteller Mark Scheider introduced the campers to kamishibai — a form of Japanese street theater — and narrated exciting tales. Students learned about classic stories such as Journey to the West, adapted their own stories and plays, and used techniques from the aforementioned countries to create their own Indonesian shadow puppets, Vietnamese water puppets, Chinese hand puppets, and painted Japanese noh masks. The campers also participated a special workshop from Shan Puppet Theatre, a visiting troupe from Taiwan who shared Hakka and Taiwanese traditions and showed students how to perform with their own hand puppets and instruments. At the end-of-week showcase, campers presented the different puppets and traditions they learned.
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.