The McDuffie Arts Council sponsored an art camp for youngsters ages 5 through 12 last week in Thomson.
"It was fun," said 11-year-old Macie Hunt. "We worked with charcoal and hard pastels and soft pastels. And I learned how to smear the charcoal together to make it darker when drawing with charcoal."
The art camp was organized and taught by Haley Tam, a 2010 graduate of Thomson High School who's currently studying graphic design at Georgia Southern University, and the author of the children's book Flick, the Lonely Fish.
"I wanted to do this for a long time," Tam said in an interview during the end-of-camp art show when the campers displayed their work. "I presented the idea to the gallery committee and the arts council, and they were very supportive. They really helped me a lot in organizing it, announcing it and providing a place to hold it."
The camp and art show were held at the MAC On Main Art Gallery and Studio on Main Street.
"I speak for the council when I say that we are extremely proud of Haley and proud to be associated with the programs that she brings to the organization," McDuffie Arts Council chairman Marion Ivey said.
"Haley has been a true asset to MAC and we look forward to her continued success, especially in the area of art that includes the youth of our community. I'm sure that the tremendous success of Haley's first Art Camp only opens the door for more cultural activities that include MAC and our young people."
The experience proved as educational for Tam as for her students.
"I really enjoyed it and learned a lot from the kids," Tam said. "I learned about what they like and what they want to learn, and how they work with each other. I was so impressed with how focused they were and how much they really wanted to learn about art."
One lesson in particular the students learned is especially important to every artist.
"I learned to always put my signature on my art," Macie Hunt said.
"That's really important."