Fay Jones School Design Camp Offers Sessions in Three Cities, Expands with Residential Option

Students participate in the Design Camp held in summer 2015 in Vol Walker Hall on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.
Photo by Julia Trupp

Students participate in the Design Camp held in summer 2015 in Vol Walker Hall on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — High school students from across the country can channel their creative energies into a Design Camp offered again this summer by the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. Three weeklong sessions are planned for this June in Fayetteville, Hot Springs and Little Rock, and online registration is now available.

The school's Design Camp began in 2010 as a way to teach young students the concepts of architecture and design, and what those look like as professions. Over the years, the camp has grown more popular, and it has evolved into extended hours, more locations, overnight stays and more challenging design projects.

"Design Camp has become a central element in our community engagement programs, and it expands the presence of the school throughout the state," said Peter MacKeith, dean of the Fay Jones School. "We're committed to demonstrating that design can be for everyone, and that design education starts well ahead of university enrollment. Alison Turner has taken the lead for our Design Camp programs, and her work to expand those in size and location is admirable."

Each Design Camp session incorporates the three disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture and interior design and offers projects that include all three areas of design. Students going into ninth through 12th grades have the chance to be exposed to new ideas, gain new perspectives and learn new skills, such as sketching and approaching ideas from new angles, said Turner, a faculty member in architecture and the Design Camp director the last two years.

"We want to educate young students about what we do in the three professions and how they might go about pursuing those as careers," Turner said. "But we also engage them in the community, we bring in professionals, we go out in the community, and we visit local projects."

The three camp sessions will be held from June 13-17 on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, from June 20-24 at Arkansas Studies Institute in Little Rock, and from June 27 to July 1 at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs.

Each area of design has inspired a camp location: Hot Springs focuses more on landscape architecture, Little Rock focuses on the urban aspects of design, and Fayetteville offers the perspective of design on campus and in various areas of the community.

The newest additions to the Fayetteville camp this year include a residential option and an advanced level of instruction for returning students or those more experienced in art and design. Students can choose to only attend the day camp, which will end each day at 4 p.m., or to also stay overnight in a residence hall on campus.

The residential option was added after Turner found that students needed more time to work on projects, and that there wasn't enough time in the day to balance work and activities. It will also allow students who live in cities farther away to attend camp for the week. Overnight campers will stay in a residence hall with Fay Jones School students who will serve as counselors.

"We are planning on having home groups so they have one of the Fay Jones School students as a mentor, like a little family group, where they can talk about things that have happened during design camp," Turner said. "But then we will have movie nights and other activities where it will be a fun experience for the students."

The increased demand for the camp caused the school leadership to consider the overnight option. This year, the camp is being marketed to a broader range of areas, including St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas, Tulsa, Memphis, Springfield and other areas within driving distance, she said. While the camp began as a local event, students from all over the country have attended over the last couple of years, coming from New York, Memphis, Joplin and Texas.

Students are not only traveling greater distances to attend, they are also attending repeatedly. Though the camp began years ago with the idea that students had little prior design knowledge, an advanced level was added in Fayetteville this year for those who already know the basics.

"Last year, we discovered that we had five or six students come back to design camp," Turner said. "We are also seeing some students who have had experience with architecture design, whether it's in school or pursuing it on their own, and that they are ready to do something more advanced."

This camp is part of the school's community outreach to educate not only Fay Jones School students, but also other students and members of the community, Turner said. Last year, the Fayetteville camp had about 40 students.

"The great thing about it is that, even if these students who come to our camp don't end up going into one of the design professions, at least they now have the knowledge and the appreciation of what designers do and what they bring to a project," Turner said. "I think the education of what we do at camp is important, and it's also a great recruitment tool for the school because of course we want to bring as many young, talented, energetic students into the school as we can."

The faculty and students of the Fay Jones School are also very involved with the program, and participate in various roles to keep the camp running. Faculty members who teach during the camp plan all year for how the three design areas will be incorporated into the chosen project. The whole process is very collaborative, and those who are part of the camp look forward to feedback to see what can be done better the following year.

The Fay Jones School students working as teaching assistants will be more involved this year in helping campers with projects during the day and helping faculty prepare for lessons and events, Turner said. Counselors will be present after hours when the day camp is over to lead activities and provide supervision during the evening.

While the program continues to evolve, Turner enjoys being able to share her passion for architecture and design with young students. Showing them the possibilities of design as a creative endeavor and a potential profession has been a rewarding experience for her.  

Camp costs are $300 for early bird registration by April 15, then $350 for regular registration by May 27. The overnight option in Fayetteville costs an additional $300. Need-based scholarships are available. Details are available on the Design Camp page on the school's website. To sign up for camp, go to this registration page.

For more information, contact Judy Stone at jkstone@uark.edu or 479-575-2399.


Lauren Randall, communications intern
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
479-575-4704, lerandal@uark.edu

Michelle Parks, director of communications
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
479-575-4704, mparks17@uark.edu

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